OGDEN — The maker of “Five Wives Vodka” has signaled its intent to sue the state of Idaho for refusing to sell its product in liquor stores and through special orders, saying the bottle’s label was “offensive to women and Mormons.”
A lawyer representing Ogden’s Own Distillery fired off a letter, notifying the director of the Idaho State Liquor Division that a lawsuit was pending.
“The actions of this agency constitute flagrant violations of the United States Constitution and, as such, exceed the authority given to you as a state official,” Ogden’s Own attorney Jonathan Turley wrote. “The actions take by your agency — as well as the product disparagement in public statements — have caused obvious injury to my client both within Idaho and nationally.”
In an interview with FOX 13 after announcing that “Five Wives” would not be sold in Idaho liquor stores, state liquor division director Jeffrey Anderson said the product’s mid-range price point was not appealing, but the label was the “tie breaker.”
“We didn’t believe the product or the bottle differentiated itself adequately for the listing,” Anderson told FOX 13. “In addition to that, we found the label to be in poor taste and offensive to women and Mormons.”
Ogden’s Own said the inspiration for the name was not polygamy-themed, but they certainly did not shy away from the association. The label, featuring five women with kittens peeking out of their skirts, is an archived photograph from the 1800s.
Since initial reports on “Five Wives” being “banned” from Idaho, Ogden’s Own said it has seen an increase in sales in the states the product is available — including Utah. The distillery is also selling T-shirts playing off the controversy that proclaim: “Free the Five Wives!”