Friday, April 12, 2013

Idaho Liquor Division Wins 'Award" For Affront to Free Speech Over Five Wives Controversy

Posted By on Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 10:27 AM


In early March, Boise Weekly sat down to have a conversation with Jeff Anderson, Director of Idaho Lottery and the Idaho State Liquor Division.

Among other topics, we asked Anderson about "the Five Wives incident." In May 2012, Anderson balked at Five Wives Vodka, calling its label featuring women hiking up their skirts offensive. When the Utah-based distiller, Ogden's Own, took its dispute to national media outlets a verbal firestorm erupted, resulting in the Idaho Liquor Division backing down and allowing the vodka to be sold in state-run stores.

"I got in trouble by being too honest about the reasons we didn't want something," Anderson told BW. "The product is fine. If you want to spend $20 for Five Wives Vodka, fine. In fact, we just ordered another pallet [approximately 720 bottles]."

When we asked Anderson about his change of heart, he said he wasn't interested in a long, drawn-out legal battle.

"There was no point in getting into a protracted fight with Georgetown lawyers over whether or not we're going to give a slot on a shelf for $20 vodka. OK. Uncle. You got me. I'm done," said Anderson.

And now, the the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expresion has picked the Idaho State Liquor Division as a 2013 recipient of one of its annual Jefferson Muzzles awards - as an affront to free speech - due to the Five Wives incident. The prize? A t-shirt.

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