Ogden?s Own Distillery is expressing its gratitude to Idaho residents by sponsoring the Boise Music Festival, though its Five Wives vodka will not be sold at the event.
Earlier this week, Idaho?s State Liquor Division deemed the brand offensive to women and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
But the Utah-based company said many Idahoans are against what it calls a ban. The liquor directors, however, said they are simply choosing not to carry it.
?We are absolutely humbled by the support of the people in our neighboring state,? said Steve Conlin, partner and vice president of marketing for Ogden?s Own Distillery. ?We?ve sold so many T-shirts to Idaho residents that we think it is only fair to give those proceeds back in sponsorship dollars (for the Boise event).?
The company said it has sold more than 1,000 T-shirts in the past few days. They bear the message ?Free the Five Wives.?
The LDS Church, which tells its members not to drink alcohol, once practiced polygamy. However, the company said the brand has little to do with the church.
"We wanted to have a brand that tied back historically to something of the American West," Steve Conlin, a partner at the distillery, told the station Wednesday.
The T-shirts can be bought at http://www.ogdensownstore.com/product/freewives.
Conlin also said the company spoke with it legal counsel Friday morning and is considering its options regarding the Idaho?s disallowing of special orders of Five Wives Vodka. A decision regarding the next step is expect the first of next week.
?Honestly, we?re getting a little tired of the description of our product that is being given by the state of Idaho and it is apparent that many people don?t agree with (Idaho State Liquor Division Director) Jeff Anderson,? Conlin said in a news release Friday. ?We?re high-quality product at a great price. I?d like to see his tasting credentials to determine we?re average. Our customers disagree.?
Anderson had described the product as "average, at a higher-than-normal price, and the package was unacceptable."
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.
The distillery is receiving an "incredible number" of requests for online purchase. Due to many state laws the company can not ship directly, but is hoping to have an online distributor available in 26 states early next week.
The company cited the fact that Mad Housewife wine and Polygamy Porter beer are legally sold in Utah and Idaho.
"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 earlier this week.
Ogden?s Own Distillery?s other product, Underground Herbal Spirit, will be at the music festival.