The Ying Yang Twins
, fine purveyors of mindless club hop, just wanted a product they could call their own. Specialty salt shakers
would have been easy and too predictable, so they decided to get into the booze business.
Side Pocket Distillery
in Cottage Grove was paid almost $150,000 to produce a name-brand vodka for the Atlanta hip-hop duo. But the Ying Yang Twins' marketer claims the distillery didn't deliver.
Now the Lane County organization is being sued in U.S. District Court in South Carolina for breach of contract and fraud, among other charges.
According to the lawsuit, in late December 2008, William Meyers of Side Pocket went into business with Power Beverages of South Carolina. The deal was for Meyers' Oregon corporation to make Ying Yang Vodka and Ying Yang Vodka Brown Sugar, a liquor with “black tea infusion” to compete with syrupy spirits already popular in the South Carolina market. Power Beverages would then market and sell the alcohol.
In a promotional video
on YouTube, the vodka is said to have "the ambiance of alcohol" and be the "epitome of vodka."
But, according to the suit, by May of 2009, only 820 cases of a nearly four thousand-case order had been completed by Side Pocket. And, the suit says, Power Beverages’ partners, Richard Hills Jr. and Paul Kidd were squabbling over naming rights.
In the suit, Hills claims his partner Kidd and Side Pocket's Meyers conspired to divide the money owed Hills for themselves. Kidd would get the vodka and Side Pocket would keep the money, avoiding federal taxes, the suit says.
Hills was planning to market the vodka alongside the short-lived popularity of crunksters the Ying Yang Twins, according to the suit. But since the Dirty South duo have been out of the spotlight since 2009, Side Pocket’s failure to deliver the booze meant Power Beverage lost the ability to market the specialty drink.
Meyers of Side Pocket admitted in November the distilling company owed almost $880,000 in evaded taxes
, which should make it all the more difficult for Power Beverages to get their money or their vodka
Representatives for Side Pocket were unavailable for comment Monday.