Brussels "Maori Tears" beer causes offence in New Zealand

A craft beer brewed by the Brussels Beer Project has offended people on the other side of the world. The choice of the name “Maori Tears” for the beer has been criticised by some in New Zealand that say that it offends the Maori community there.

The "Maori Tears" beer has been in existence for several years and is brewed by the Brussels Beer Project that brews several craft beers that it says reflect the cosmopolitan mix that is contemporary Brussels.  

The “Maori Tears” beer is a pale ale that contains wine made from German Dornfelder grapes and hops from Whakatu in New Zealand. The beer is allowed to mature for several months in oak barrels.  

In the time since its launch a couple of years ago news of the existence of “Maori Tears” has reached New Zealand and not everyone there is happy with the choice of name for the brew. Representatives of the Maori community, the group that formed the original population of what is now New Zealand before it was settled and colonised by the British, have expressed their concerns.   

The human rights activist Karaitiana Taiuru told the 'New Zealand Herald' that “The idea of drinking someone’s tears is offensive to the traditional world view of the Maori. Does the brewer believe that Maoris cry or are so sad that they turn to drink?”

Mr Taiuru, himself a Maori, has led successful campaigns in the past against British breweries that used Maori names of images of Maori people to promote their products. In three cases he was successful in getting the name of a beer changed.

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