When Five Wives meet Idaho's nanny state

The state of Idaho has poured Five Wives Vodka a shot of free publicity.

Not that Ogden's Own Distillery is in an ideal position to cash in. The Utah-produced vodka is essentially a controlled substance in Idaho, where the rules of private enterprise govern nearly every sector of commerce, save for booze.

Five Wives has been banned from the shelves of Idaho's state-run liquor stores — because the brand name, and its too-tepid-to-be-edgy reference to polygamy, may be offensive to Idaho Mormons.

Never mind that practicing Mormons aren't supposed to frequent a liquor store. (Not to put too sharp a point on it, but that's the truth.)

Never mind that Five Wives is available in state-run liquor stores in Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is headquartered. (Which means, in some southeast Idaho border towns, driving to Utah to look for a wife may have just taken on new meaning.)

Never mind that anyone can walk into an Idaho grocery store and grab a Polygamy Porter. That's because the state allows this thing called the free market determine what brews are available for sale — and yet the state has withstood the grave affront posed by Polygamy Porter.

So I go back to an old question: What is the state doing in the booze business, anyway?

The Five Wives fiasco is further proof — 80 proof, to be exact — of the inherent silliness of state-controlled liquor sales. It's ridiculously hypocritical to put the decisions of liquor product sales in the hands of a state bureaucrat, Jeff Anderson, who heads the state's liquor division.

Five Wives didn't make the cut largely because of its name and label. But, as Anderson told the Statesman's Audrey Dutton, personal preferences entered the equation. "(Five Wives) doesn't have a unique flavor profile ... it's quite average."

Sounds like a matter of taste, then. Kind of like the "offensive" Five Wives name is also a matter of taste.

While Five Wives is getting all the media attention, and the Ogden distillery is playing the state's snub to full public relations advantage, the state turns down brands of booze on almost a daily basis. The state gets pitches for 500 or so products a year and says yes to about 150, Anderson said.

So that's about 350 brands that are banned in Idaho, every year. Remember that the next time you hear an Idaho elected official talk about how government just has to get out of the way of private business.

Some private business, anyway.

Idaho could actually pocket a windfall if it got out of the liquor business — $48 million to $60 million the first year, and $200,000 to $600,000 thereafter, according to a January 2011 Office of Performance Evaluations report. But Gov. Butch Otter is staunchly opposed to privatization, and the Legislature isn't taking on this idea of its own accord. Conveniently forgetting their rhetoric about free enterprise, they wrap themselves in state code that speaks of "curtail(ing) the intemperate use" of alcohol.

A noble cause. But one that could be furthered by taking a segment of the privatization windfall and dedicating it to education and detox programs.

Don't bank on it. Unless and until the private sector presses the issue — which is what happened in Washington, where Costco was a driving force behind a 2011 initiative to privatize liquor sales — this issue isn't going anywhere.

And Idaho will keep running its liquor monopoly. No matter how foolish and hypocritical it looks in the process.

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Hypocrisy is their middle name.

Another idea that is offensive is that religions want respect for their constitutionally protected freedoms, but now are moving in to limit our constitutionally protected freedoms based on their religious beliefs and sensitivities.

This is exactly the problem with allowing religion to encroach upon government - and it is exactly why the founding fathers did not give religion that power.

No thanks to mormons making my decisions for me - and no thanks to the state running the liquor business. It is way past time for this product to be privatized.


Buy Idaho, oops, I mean, FIVE WIVES!!!

What a ridiculous

amount of free advertising for Ogden's Own Distillery.

Good for them! I hope they make out like a bandit on this fiasco.

interesting that these self

interesting that these self righteous taters are offended by the name......yes a name of a distilled spirit……LMFAO……theses tater are are absolute freaks……..the are lots of names of products found in all retail that some may find offense to there personal ideology of faith but it doesn’t mean a conservative dominated government should deny these products access to the free market…………

…….these are the same self righteous people who constantly using the rhetoric of anti-government involvement in the free market……….

and now they are using government to censor products and deny access to the Idaho free market because of a Idaho religious litmus test……

…let the free market.decide……..if nobody buys the product it quietly goes away like any other product………….

…..these boneheads tater officials just gave this product so much free media attention that is reaching across the United States and its only proving to all of America that Idaho is what they they thought it was and intolerant authoritarian ultra conservative state with a litmus test on life in Idaho………

Bye the way you anti-government taters who like to all demonize government and want to privatize liquor………pay attention to Washington, yeah you can buy liquor in more locations……………the privatization proponents made wild claims it will increase state revenue in the millions because of more locations to sell product…....sounds great right.......….but the realty is the increased revenue is from increased state taxes and fees, instantly applied overnight in Washington, all prices increased over 27%.

So basically the 57% of the Washingtonians who supported the misinformation of privatization provided by the Costco funded privatization campaign have forced all citizens to give up millions in needed state revenue and increase taxes and retail prices for all spirits beer and wine.

The state of Idaho just needs a common sense contemporary vision to modernize state controlled liquor distribution, how about a starting place.......work together with those retailers who wish to sell spirits and to license them to run a state liquor kiosks in their entities.

be careful what you with for with privatization of spirits.......it very clear that retail costs will soar and taxes will increase.........

Retail costs will soar?

Yeah, because when there's a monopoly and there's only one set price, they're really looking out to give us the best deal possible, eh?

Here's what a trip to a privatization state last fall yielded compared to Idaho's prices then:

1.75mL bottle of Crown Royal in L.A.: $32.99 (Costco)
Same bottle at state-run store in Idaho: $53.95

750mL bottle of Suntory Yamazaki Whisky in L.A.: $41.95 (Beverage Warehouse)
Same bottle in Idaho (if you can even find it): $52.45

1.75mL bottle of Skyy Vodka in L.A.: $19.99 (Costco)
Same bottle in Idaho: $29.95

1mL bottle of Jameson Whiskey in L.A.: $19.99 (Trader Joe's)
750mL bottle in Idaho: $26.95

750mL bottle of Crown Royal Black in L.A.: $25.95 (Beverage Warehouse)
Same bottle in Idaho: $31.95

I bought two bottles of all of the above except for the Crown Royal Black, of which I bought one bottle.

Subtotal in L.A.: $255.79
Tax (8.75%): $22.38
Total: $278.17

Subtotal in Idaho: $358.55
Tax (6%): $21.51
Total: $380.06

Savings: $101.89, plus an extra 500 mL of Jameson, which would amount to a little over $19 extra after tax. That's $380 I gladly kept away from Idaho's pockets and will continue to do so every time I'm in a privatization state.

Yep, I don't want to hear

Yep, I don't want to hear another word from Conservatives about small and less intrusive government. Thanks to the "Religious Right" the Republican party has now become the party of censorship and political correctness.


get this militant Mormon hypocrite off the State payroll!

Any Evidence?

Do you have any evidence that the guy who made the decision is Mormon? Real Mormons don't give a crap about stuff like this (as shown by the fact that Utah, where members of the Liquor Control Board probably are Mormon, allows it).


Free enterprise aside, perhaps the label is the offending part here in the decision.

Without a doubt the cats in the ladies' petticoats is done with sexual connotations.

If your mother drinks vodka, would you give this as a gift to her?

No, but I am a grown up and can make that decision for myself

I don't need the state to do it. Honestly, who do they think they are kidding when they talk about free markets, less government, getting rid of the nanny state, etc? Governor Otter needs to have a discussion with his employee about the proper role of government.

I find that label much less offensive than the covers of many magazines I see at the supermarket.


So you said it right there in one word.

A store, any store, has limited shelf space.
Some products get in, some don't.
The "storekeeper" has to make a decision.

And you also don't find Hustler magazines at your local supermarket. Gee, I wonder why that is.....


Except the storekeeper didn't make the call, an unelected government official did. And he did it for the State, not just one or two stores. A free market means that if one store decides against carrying the product, so be it, another store can if they choose.

P.S. Momma can buy her own booze!


Free market or not- retailers use distributors.
And each distributor has a limited product list. A dist makes a decision on what to carry.

Whether you are talking vodka, beer, or bubble gum the retail system has gatekeepers/decision makers/storekeepers that might keep a particular product away from you making a purchase.

Albertson's has a distibution system too. Someone there decides not to carry whether to carry organic figs. Oh yeah, it affects every Albertson's using that distribution chain.

This is just advertising for the vodka AND the $14 T-shirts. :-)

Get ya one (or 5).

Distributors want a profit too

Therefore, if there is high enough demand for any product the distributor will add it to his or her list. That's a free market. Not one idiot making decisions for everyone.

My mother

,who grew up in Burley, would have laughed long and hard if I'd gotten her a bottle with that label. She would have loved it, sexual and religious context and all.


Butch is trying to curb the intemperate use of alcohol? He obviously does not believe that what's good for the goose is also good for we ganders.


has no place telling anyone how much they should drink what with his sophomoric actions after getting caught driving drunk.

Nanny State Indeed - I am so fed up with this

This place is a pathetic joke ruled by a bunch of pathetic $3 dollar cowboy church coddling criminal morons. The people that vote for these overlords have less of an IQ than the bacteria that live in a flies vomit. Guess I will be making more trips to Nevada to spend my liquor money there. It's cheaper anyway. And 350 brands that are banned in Idaho??? You're shizzin me? And these conservative freaks claim to be pro-business, pro-freedom, anti-government meddling in your business? This place gets more putrefying every day.

'Nanny state'? try 2-faced theocracy in a shallow gene pool

Kevin, you have to admit in the scheme of things this is a juicy tempest in a teapot. It begs the ideological question why the state is in the liquor biz whatsoever; Washington State just completed selling their stores & distribution network off altogether.

When there was no Internet, no broad transparency re: Idaho government (still not transparent enough), no quick comparisons, no quick fact-checks, no quick review of actual budgets vs. "trust-me deals"....all this standard LDS-based believability swill went unchecked. People came to the state in important roles, believing what they were told, until they discovered they'd been lied to...and they left.

Now that phenomenon is happening to entire companies and industries, and while it may not seem related to Five Wives Vodka...it is indeed the other side of the same coin. The Statesman needs to get Idahoans prepared for the very worst economic period in Idaho history since the 1930s.

competing with the private sector

I thought there was a big bunch of legislators who were complaining about the state competing with the private sector. Doesn't the private sector also sell alcohol? And doesn't having state stores compete with them?

Change the name to,

"Five Husbands," holding roosters, and it will be accepted by the self appointed censors.

Real news

KR, where is your post about the Ada County land screw up?
Or if you are scared of the local politics maybe something about the Boise River floating season? Something of substance and leave this little stuff for RetailRodeo.

Pimp2 must love the Nanny

Pimp2 must love the Nanny State.

share some

I just love my nanny!

I'm still looking for......

4 Lesbo's Liqueur and 2 Gay Guys Grenadine - you know, just for those special occasions. Help anyone?