The "Five Wives Vodka" produced in Ogden is meant to poke fun at Utah's polygamous past, but in Idaho they aren't laughing. The Idaho State Liquor Division recently banned the spirit from being sold in the Gem State.
According to a news release issued by Ogden's Own Distillery, Idaho liquor officials called the concept "offensive to a prominent segment of our population and it will not be carried."
Five Wives Vodka is named after one of the first pioneer wagon trains that came through Utah and spent time in Ogden. The caravan included 66 men and five women. However, the label does push the limits as the five women in the drawing are cradling cats near their genital area.
Several months ago, Ogden’s Own Distillery applied for general listing in Idaho and was rejected. The state’s position now blocks establishments from even receiving ‘special orders’ of the product. The result of the ban will have an immediate impact, as Ogden’s Own Distillery will be forced to withdraw sponsorship of the Boise Music Festival.
“It’s disappointing as we have customers who want the product. It’s a rare move for them to ban a product outright from special orders," explained John Challenger, president of Elite Spirits which distributes the vodka.
“We have a product that has sold nearly 1,000 cases in six months in Utah,” explained Steve Conlin, partner and vice president of marketing at Ogden’s Own Distillery. “If the reaction is because of a religious concern, we think they are extremely misguided.”
According ot the U.S. Census, 27 percent of the residents in Idaho are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which requires members to abstain from alcohol.
“Though that makes little sense as they allow Polygamy Porter from Wasatch Beers of Utah to be sold," he said. " We’re a little dumbfounded by it all.”