With a name like Polygamy Porter, who needs PR? A product that
audacious can practically pitch itself.
The Mormon-baiting beverage came almost as a gift to Colorado agency
Backbone Media, which won Wasatch Brewery as a client just before the
product launch. Owner Greg Schirf's trail-blazing, law-changing efforts
to start Utah's first microbrewery and brew pub were the stuff of local
In a state where 70% of the population are alcohol-eschewing Mormons,
liquor laws remain straight-jacket stiff. Schirf already had taunted the
religious establishment with tag lines like "Baptize Your Taste Buds"
and sparred legally with Olympic planners over his 2002 Unofficial Amber
Ale. Backbone was talking up Polygamy Porter to the national press when
a Salt Lake City billboard company refused to put up ads proclaiming
"Why have just one?"
"That was probably the nicest thing they ever did to us because it just
sort of led to a spiral of publicity," Schirf said. The story made its
way to the BBC and back again with many stops along the way, reported
Backbone partner Lisa Raleigh.
But, of course, the real issue is: How do you target the 30% that does
drink, without offending the 70% that doesn't? Better ask those beef
jerky vendors outside the Taj Mahal how they get by.