Lost Abbey Witchâ€™s Wit Ale may change labels. Lost Abbey, a California beer distributor, has found themselves cooking in the witchâ€™s brew after releasing a label depicting a woman being burned at the stake.
Lost Abbeyâ€™s Witchâ€™s Wit is one of Port Brewing Companyâ€™s Lost Abbey beers, which the distributor calls "inspired beers for saints and sinners alike." Each beer in the series has a different label which aims to tell a story about â€œthe struggle between good and evil.â€
Vicki Noble, a famed healer, astrologer and spiritual leader in the pagan community, saw only evil in the Witch's Wit label. According to Fox News, Noble was incensed at the image of a witch being burned at the stake and sent an e-mail to her followers, asking in the subject line: "Can we stop this brewer from their hate imagery?"
Port Brewing, based in San Marcos., Calif., has since been flooded with messages expressing outrage over the label. People have threatened a boycott if the company doesn't change it.
Tomme Arthur, Port Brewing's director of brewery operations said all Lost Abbey beers - including Witch's Wit - deal with religious irony and features both original artwork on the front and a written story on the back.
Arthur told Fox News â€œThe Inferno ale, for example, talks about what it's like to wake up and find yourself in Hell.â€
Yet, the only beer to generate complaints is the Witchâ€™s Ale.
Noble, a professor at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, said â€œIn fact, witches are usually healers or shamans. It's the misconceptions about them that get them into trouble.â€ She added that the Witch's Wit label perpetuates those misconceptions.
Arthur defended the label saying it aims to address, not mock, those misconceptions.
"What I was looking at was this notion that there was a lot of people in the 16th century who would have been sent to a horrific death for potentially committing no crime, and that's what she represents, this woman, this girlâ€¦. My notion of this woman is that she's innocent, but we don't know what she did."
Still, associate professor of women's studies and religious studies at Montclair State University in New Jersey, Cynthia Eller, said the label was just plain offensive.
â€œâ€¦When you put a picture of this on a beer bottle, you're perpetuating misogyny" she said.
While offensive to the Wiccans, there remain an outpouring of supporters, who say the brewery should stand its ground.
"The only decision that has been made about this label is that we have agreed, as owners, to discuss this label controversy at our meeting in November," he said.
Noble, meanwhile, says if the company doesn't change the label, there will be more trouble ahead.
"I don't' have an immediate plan, but I'm sure not ready to just let it go away," she said. "We'll have to go to the next level."
Photo Credit: Beer News