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Idaho Says No To Five Wives Vodka

Idaho is saying no to selling Utah-based Five Wives Vodka, as state liquor directors claim the brand is offensive to women and Mormons.

State directors were quick to point out the product isn’t banned, but they’re choosing not to carry it.

Raena Opfar left the liquor store a satisfied customer Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m a vodka drinker,” said Opfar.

But one particular brand isn’t an option for the hotel lounge owner: Five Wives Vodka made by Ogden’s Own Distillery in Utah.

“We wanted to have a brand that tied back historically to something of the American West,” said Steve Conlin, a partner at the distillery.

Idaho’s State Liquor Division has deemed that brand offensive to women and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints faith. It’s a faith that once practiced polygamy.

“I was pretty sure Mormons don’t drink; isn’t that correct?” Opfar said.

“We’re a state agency that represents all Idahoans, not just people who shop in our stores and consume distilled spirits,” said Jeff Anderson, director of Idaho’s State Liquor Division.

Todd Holm comes from a traditionally anti-alcohol Mormon background.

“It doesn’t offend me personally, but I can see how it would offend people,” said Holm.

Wild names are nothing new. Mad Housewife wine and Polygamy Porter beer are sold in Utah and Idaho, but those types of alcohol aren’t regulated by the state.

“To ban us on the chance that we might offend somebody violates the First Amendment at a pretty egregious level, in my opinion,” said Conlin.

Anderson said it’s about more than just a name. In the past year, he said, more than 500 new products have been pitched, and only 150 have hit store shelves.

Anderson said the screening team didn’t approve.

“It was average, at a higher-than-normal price, and the package was unacceptable,” said Anderson.

Opfar said she’s not offended at all. She just wanted to try the vodka.

The distillery company has turned the controversy into a marketing campaign with “Free the Five Wives” T-shirts.

Five Wives was also denied a special order status, which would have allowed bars or customers to order the product.

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