Does putting Jesus’s name on a beer bottle constitute blasphemy? That seems to be what customers of a Cleveland, Ohio, area grocery store chain think. Indeed, their complaints led the Heinen’s stores to remove “Sweet Baby Jesus,” a porter beer produced by Baltimore-based DuClaw Brewing Company, from their shelves.
According to local news reports Heinen’s had no comment on the beer’s removal, but DuClaw founder Dave Benfield said, “We occasionally get complaints about Sweet Baby Jesus. Some people are not happy about the word ‘Jesus’ being on a beer.” But DuClaw is in no rush to cave to the complainers’ demands—Fox News reported that Sweet Baby Jesus is “the brewery’s most popular beer, accounting for 35 to 40 percent of DuClaw’s total sales.”
I suppose Canada’s Crannóg Ales might also get complaints about their Back Hand of God stout, described as “extraordinarily smooth and mildly hopped with a distinct coffee and chocolate presence.” What about Shmaltz Brewing Company’s He’Brew line? He’Brew, “The Chosen Beer,” includes beers named Messiah, Hop Manna, and Funky Jewbelation, to name a few. And with Sweet Baby Jesus gone, will DuClaw’s Dirty Little Freak brown ale be allowed to stay?
The owners of DuClaw are unlikely to lose sleep over one grocery store chain’s removal of their famous beer, but it’s dangerous when individuals have the power to determine what’s offensive, especially when religion is involved.
Let’s focus on the real crime: the brewery’s attempt to make a peanut butter and chocolate flavored beer. Jesus wouldn’t approve of any of these beers anyway—he obviously preferred wine.