Idaho calls 'Five Wives Vodka' offensive to women, Mormon church

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by Stephanie Zepelin & Associated Press

KREM.com

Posted on May 30, 2012 at 4:03 PM

BOISE - If you've checked out the vodka section in an Idaho liquor store lately you have seen dozens of flavors and makers of vodka...but there is one vodka being distilled in Utah you will not find for sale anywhere in Idaho.

The state gave two reasons not the put the product up for sale.They say the vodka market is too crowded and, this brand, Five Wives vodka, could be offensive to many Idahoans.

Jeff Anderson, the director for the Idaho State Liquor Division, said they haven't banned anything.

"We chose not to list the product for available for sale in Idaho, " said Anderson.

Anderson told KTVB they see between 500 and 600 new products every year.

"In the last 12 months we've listed about 150, so we say 'no' more than we say 'yes' to a lot of different products, particularly in the vodka category," he said.

Anderson and a screening team think Five Wives just can't compete with the other vodkas already on the shelf. They also denied Five Wives special order status.  That's when a bar or consumer order the product. But Anderson says the department also found the label offensive.

"We represent the interests of everyone, whether they consume our products and shop in our stores or not. And, you know, the Five Wives is, you know, kind of a wink and nod to poking the Mormon faith in the eye," he said.

He said to could offend women and members of the Mormon faith in Idaho.

Steve Conlin is a partner at Ogden's Own Distillery in Odgen, Utah, makers of Five Wives.

"It could just mean five wives who get together and have a drink, it could be five ex wives. There was no real pointed meaning behind it," said Conlin

Conlin said they weren't trying to poke fun at anyone, or be offensive. He said haven't gotten any complaints. He called what the state of Idaho is doing a "gross overstepping of the first amendment."

"It's kind of a slippery slope as to what you're going to allow the state to control," said Conlin.

Ogden's Own Distillery is seeking legal council and says a lawsuit against the state is possible.

 

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