Idaho reverses ban on “Mormon-offending” vodka
The Idaho State Liquor Division (ISLD) has retracted its ban on the sale of the “offensive” Fives Wives vodka after its Utah-based distiller threatened legal action.
The brand, produced by Ogden’s Own Distillery, was banned from sale in the US state last month following claims it was offensive to Idaho’s large Mormon population.
In response, Ogden’s Own sought legal advice from Jonathan Turley who last week notified the ISLD of the distillery’s intent to seek a judicial review of the ban if the decision was not overturned.
A letter sent to the ISLD read: “This letter is to inform you of the intent of Ogden’s Own to seek judicial review of your recent decision to bar the sale of “Five Wives Vodka” in the State of Idaho. In a desire to avoid unnecessary litigation, this letter demands that you reverse your rejection of special orders of “Five Wives Vodka” and that you not use this same basis to reject the product in a renewed request for general listing.”
Yesterday the ISLD responded with a lift of the ban, allowing the sale of Five Wives vodka, which features five women hitching up their skirts on the label, through ‘special order requests’.
“In a shared desire to avoid unnecessary litigation costs to Ogden’s Own Distillery and the people of Idaho, today we have informed the makers of `Five Wives’ vodka that we will immediately begin processing special order requests for both on-premise licensees and retail consumers,” Jeff Anderson, administrator for the ISLD, said in a statement.
Ogden’s Own had been forced to withdraw its sponsorship of the upcoming Boise festival held in Idaho, but decided last week to go ahead with participation despite being prevented from selling its Five Wives vodka.
Ogden’s Own said in a statement released today: “With special orders, Idaho will be allowing consumers to make their own choice as to what they want to buy and what they find offensive. Though we won’t be on the liquor store shelves just yet, we feel it should be only a matter of time as we will trust that the liquor division will base the decision on demand when we re-apply for general listing. In the end, this dispute was about freedom of speech and consumer choice. We feel that both are in a little better position today in the state of Idaho.”