The good news: Utah is no longer the lamest state in the West. The bad news: A fine (and City Weekly Best of Utah-winning) vodka made in Ogden has lost major distribution due to some humorless spudheads up north. The PR from Ogden's Own Distillery: ---
"Ogden’s Own Distillery announced today that Five Wives Vodka has been banned from being sold in Idaho by the Idaho State Liquor Division.
"'We feel Five Wives Vodka concept is offensive to a prominent segment of our population and will not be carried,' Howard Wasserstein, deputy director of the Liquor Division, explained in a letter to distributor Elite Spirits of Boise.
"'After several establishments asked the state for special orders of Five Wives Vodka, we were informed that the product would not be allowed to be sold,' explained John Challenger, president of Elite Spirits. '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.'
"Ogden’s Own Distillery is similarly dismayed at the reaction of the Liquor Division.
"'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.'
"'We can only presume he means Mormons,' Conlin continued. 'Though that makes little sense, as they allow Polygamy Porter from Wasatch Beers of Utah to be sold. We’re a little dumbfounded by it all.'
"According to the U.S. Census, 27 percent of Idaho’s population are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Ogden’s Own Distillery applied for general listing and was rejected two months ago. 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.
"'Between sponsorship and attending the concert, we estimate the company would’ve spent near $10,000 in Boise over the weekend of the festival,' Conlin explained. 'We’d love to bring a group and represent our brands at an event of this magnitude. It’s unfortunate for the community -- not just us and Elite Spirits. We love the city of Boise and are disappointed by these developments.'
"Five Wives Vodka is a high-quality, affordably priced vodka made with Wasatch mountain spring water in Utah. It is distributed in UT, WY, and will be added to MO and TX within the next 30 days. Its label pays homage to the early travelers to the West."