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Tuesday, 30 October, 2001, 12:35 GMT
Advertising campaign offends Mormons
Beer label for Polygamy Porter
Beer ad campaign has offended Mormons
A beer advertising campaign in the American state of Utah has offended members of the Mormon faith.

The Wasatch Beers company has dipped into Mormon culture to promote some of its products.

In a state where 70% of the population does not drink alcohol the company decided that it needed a gimmick, but its latest efforts have met with condemnation.

The furore surrounds the promotion of a new beer called Polygamy Porter, after the authorities decided against banning any advertising which played on religious themes.

Political pressure

"Our agenda is to have fun and increase sales of our beer," Wasatch founder Greg Schirf told BBC World Business Report.


Our agenda is to have fun and increase sales of our beer

Greg Schirf
Wasatch founder
Previous campaigns have included slogans such as "Utah's other religion - Wasatch Beers" and "Baptise your taste buds".

However, Polygamy Porter seems to have gone over the edge in some people's minds and several companies are refusing to carry the advertisements.

"I think they might have responded to political pressure," Mr Schirf said.

Controversy

Although he agrees that his campaign might upset a few people, Mr Schirf is unrepentant about the decision.

Utah law prohibits polygamy and the Mormon church adopted a ban on it at the turn of the century - although it is still practised by fundamentalist Mormons.

"The church has gone on record as being against polygamy so we didn't think it would offend anybody," Mr Schirf said.

There is only one issue that concerns the brewery founder.

"Because so many polygamists marry underage women, we didn't want to be at risk for targeting minors," he said.

But he defends his actions by saying, "As a minority we have to learn to live in a majority culture."

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Greg Schirf, founder Wasatch Beers
"The latest campaign seems to be over the edge in some people's minds."
See also:

19 Mar 01 | Americas
Mormons under pressure on drink
24 Sep 01 | UK
Beer sales 'at 30-year low'
24 Oct 01 | Business
Boom predicted in Indian beer market
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