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Sale of Polygamy Porter beer is rejected in North Carolina because of its name

Popular Utah craft beer, Polygamy Porter, will not be sold in North Carolina after the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission rejected the brand because of the word polygamy.

In a letter addressed to Utah Brewers Cooperative of Salt Lake City, representatives from the commission stated, ‘Polygamy is illegal. Therefore these products will not be approved.’

Wasatch Brewery, owner of Polygamy Porter, was attempting to acquire a license from the commission that would allow them to sell the drink at a bar in Asheville named The Collaboratory. 

The Collaboratory already sells drinks by Wasatch and is owned by their parent company, CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective.

Kat Haney, the public affairs director of North Carolina commission, told The Salt Lake Tribune: ‘The NC ABC Commission always gives thoughtful consideration to each label and uses the criteria outlined in the statutes as the basis for every rejection or approval.’

Haney told The Salt Lake Tribune: ‘North Carolina state laws prohibit certain statements in alcohol advertising and labels.’

The clause affecting Polygamy Porter is one that bans a label that ‘depicts the use of alcoholic beverages in a scene that is determined by the Commission to be undignified, immodest, or in bad taste.’

Jon Lee, Wasatch Brewery Co-Chief Operating Officer and brewmaster, was shocked by the rejection.

He told News Channel 3: ‘It caught us quite by surprise, we were not expecting it especially because we’ve been making this beer now for 18 years.’

Polygamy Porter’s bottle design shows a nude man surrounded by multiple nude women with the catchphrase, ‘why just have one!’ 

Polygamy Porter began in 2001 and is currently sold in 20 states with no complaints. 

‘We don’t feel it’s really pushing the boundaries too much,’ Lee told The Salt Lake Tribune. ‘Just recognize our heritage, but also have fun with it.’

Although polygamy was commonly practiced by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the practice has since been abandoned and now polygamous members become excommunicated. Similarly, polygamy is illegal in all 50 states.

‘We are in on the [polygamy] joke here in Utah. It’s just a fun beer name and it certainly is not meant to promote illegal activity,’ Lauren Boyack, a spokeswoman for Wasatch Brewery, said.

Lee told the Salt Lake Tribune: ‘Beer is supposed to be fun and we have a good time with it.’

Wasatch plans to appeal the decision on August 14 before the North Carolina state liquor commission.


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