What do you get when alcohol and Mormonism collide? Idaho officials banning Five Wives Vodka, apparently.
The state’s Liquor Division administrator, Jeff Anderson, claims that the vodka brand offended Mormons, who called for its banishment from store shelves.
Ogden’s Own Distillery, based in Utah, is the maker of Five Wives Vodka.
Idaho Liquor Division Deputy Director Howard Wasserstein sent a letter Thursday to the company’s distributor, notifying them that the brand is “offensive to a prominent segment of our population and will not be carried” in state-run stores,
The Huffington Post reports.
“The bottom line is, we represent everybody,” Anderson said Tuesday. “It’s masterful marketing on their part. But it doesn’t play here.”
The administrator added that there are many vodka brands available in state-run stores, and that citizens should therefore not be concerned by his office’s decision, the Associated Press reports.
The liquor brand’s label depicts five women, generally believed to be a reference to polygamy, The Inquisitr reports.
Approximately a quarter of Idaho’s population practices Mormonism.
Ogden’s Own Distillery is not going down without a fight. In an effort to bring the vodka back to Idaho, the company has created a media campaign selling t-shirts that read, “Free the Five Wives.”
The distillery also said that the ban is unjust because Polygamy Porter, a Utah beer, is still for sale in Idaho.
Steve Conlin, a partner and marketing chief at Ogden’s Own Distillery, told the AP: “we’re a little dumbfounded by it all. The average person can look at our bottle and they don’t find it offensive. It’s certainly not obscene, which is what it would require for it to be banned.”
Vickie Ashby, a spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, sides with the distillery’s position, claiming that no one in Utah has complained about Five Wives Vodka.
Utah controls all sales of hard liquor, wine and heavy beer — which are only for sale at state-owned stores. Idaho regulates only hard liquor available in both state-owned and privately operated stores.