4

Funkwerks changes the name of its Maori King after cross-cultural brewhaha

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Last week, Funkwerks Brewing, a relatively new and innovative brewery in Fort Collins, sparked an international incident when some of New Zealand's native Maori people bashed the name and label on one of its beers, Maori King, an imperial saison made with Rakau hops from that country. The beer, which is only available in Colorado, has been served on tap and recently became available in 750 ml bottles.

Sources quoted in New Zealand media said the beer's label, which shows a depiction of a Maori moko face, was insulting to their heritage. (The Maori are New Zealand's indigenous Polynesian people.) "Essentially, it's about exploitation, and in terms of our Maori king, in effect it's misappropriating his mana," one said.

Another said the name was "culturally inappropriate," while a third said he was "deeply offended."

After a weekend of tortured debate on the brewery's Facebook page and in the New Zealand media, Funkwerks announced on Monday that it will change the name of the beer from Maori King to Southern Tropic.

"Our goal at Funkwerks is to make good beer for our customers," owner Brad Lincoln and Gordon Schuck said in a statement. "Our intention was not to disrespect the Māori people or their culture in naming our Māori King beer. Out of respect, we are re-branding this beer as Southern Tropic."

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan
and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.