Update: Democracy is Safe
We can all breath easy: Idaho has reversed its ban on Five Wives Vodka to avoid “unnecessary litigation.”
Last month the Idaho Attorney General and the state’s liquor division banned the sale of Ogden’s Own Five Wives Vodka. In a letter to the brand’s distributor earlier this week, that division’s director, Jeff Anderson, wrote that the brand is “offensive to a prominent segment of our population.” He called the marketing “masterful,” but added that, with Idaho’s more than 25% Mormon population, the highest in the U.S. after Utah, “It doesn’t play here.” No mention of “Polygamy Porter,” another Utah beer which allegedly is available for purchase in Idaho.
Not surprisingly, Idaho was threatened with a lawsuit by Utah-based Ogden’s Own Distillery if they did not allow the sale of Five Wives Vodka, which has been available for sale in Utah for a few months, by special order. In fact, the Salt Lake City Tribune even gave it a plug in February. When asked about the name and label of the vodka, Ogden’s Own owner Tim Smith said that the label purposely alluded to Ogden, Utah’s own “dark history,” saying that one of the first pioneer caravans to come through that state was in Ogden for a while, and was comprised of 66 men and only five women.
Ogden’s Own retained the services of George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley, who essentially called the ban a violation of free speech, adding that, “This case may test the limits of the government in advancing the sectarian demands of any religious groups and the exercise of arbitrary power.” Idaho officials were been given ten days reverse the ban in a letter they received Wednesday, a copy of which can be found on Turley’s website. They repo