Lost Abbey's Witches Wit. With Halloween right around the corner the timing couldn't be better. The Pagan, Wiccan, and even the Deaf-Pagan communities are up in arms over the label, which features a witch in what appears to be a medieval town center, being burned at the stake in front of the townspeople.
Deaf Pagans Crossroads is but one example of a Pagan priest offended by the label. Recently, a letter to Lost Abbey was posted saying "[a]s an ordained Pagan minister and long-time practicing witch, I am TOTALLY DISGUSTED with the label you are using for your Witch's Wit beer." (Emphasis not added.) Comments to the post included phrases we can all agree upon in matters like these: "way over any bounds of decency", "is inappropriate", "in very bad taste", and of course the obligatory comparisons to the Holocaust with "you can’t put a lable (sic) of a Jew being gased (sic) and justify it by writing a paragraph about the horrors of genocide."
This all started when the New York Times ran a piece about Vicki Noble's accidental run in with the brew. Ms. Noble likes beer but does not like the label. For those of you not in the know, Ms. Noble is a feminist leader who "is famous in the pagan and Wiccan communities for her astrology readings, shamanic healing and writings about goddess spirituality". According to the Times, she sent an E-mail to various contacts expressing outrage over the label calling it hate imagery and comparing it to images of the Holocaust and lynchings.
The Lost Abbey line of brews is known for religious bent in their labeling. In the craft brew world, brewers and drinkers have come to appreciate labels as art. Yes, labels are marketing tools but they are art as well - somewhere, Warhol is smiling. Even if it's not art (who's to say, really?) it's probably protected by the First Amendment.
Since we're not Constitutional lawyers or members of the Tea Party we decided to put our best men on the case. While Lost Abbey may be changing the label you can't un-ring the bell and we need to know if this is art, marketing, offensive, or pointless filler because we have nothing else to write about. Our best men went undercover and filed this report (you be the judge):