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Ogden distillery feels Idaho love for banned vodka

Published June 20, 2012 7:54 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Liquor officials in Idaho may not want it, but the people of Idaho are showing support for Ogden's Five Wives Vodka.

After last week's decision by Idaho's State Liquor Division to not allow the Utah-made vodka to be sold in the Gem State - because of the brand's label, which was deemed offensive to the state's LDS population - Ogden's Own Distillery started selling "Banned in Idaho" T-shirts.

According to The Idaho Statesman, the daily paper in Boise, and KIFI-TV in Idaho Falls, more than 1,000 of the shirts have been sold since Wednesday - many of them to people in Idaho.

The ban also drew fire from Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. He wrote about the ban in an op-ed piece in the Idaho Press-Tribune in Nampa (west of Boise).

"Idaho's ban," Hoffman wrote, "has all the markings of an arbitrary administrative decision that may or may not be repeated again. And liquor makers must suffer accordingly under such a regime."

"We are absolutely humbled by the support of the people in our neighboring state," Steve Conlin, partner and vice president of marketing for Ogden's Own Distillery, told KIFI.

Because of the support, Conlin said, the distillery would continue to sponsor the Boise Music Festival - using proceeds from the T-shirt sales to pay for it. (The distillery had considered dropping the sponsorship after the liquor division's ban.)

Though the vodka won't be available at the Boise festival, the distillery's other product, Underground Herbal Spirit, will be for sale there.