Dan Aykroyd's skull-shaped vodka line too morbid for Ontario liquor stores
By Moira Baird, St. Johns Telegram May 20, 2010
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. It's bottled in Newfoundland and the one-millionth bottle rolled out of the St. John's plant earlier this month but you won't find Dan Aykroyd's vodka on liquor-store shelves in Ontario.
Crystal Head vodka is banned there because its distinctive, skull-shaped bottle is an image associated with death, poison and could become popular with young, binge drinkers, according to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).
Globefill Inc. the Ontario company that markets Crystal Head and is partly owned by Aykroyd doesn't agree.
"It's a little puzzling to us," said Andrew Stodart, managing partner of Globefill. "It's the board's decision and their stores, and they have to be concerned about what they're concerned about. We respect that, even if we think it's wrong."
He said the Ottawa-born Aykroyd finds the ban amusing.
"Dan loves it. He thinks it's a great thing to be able to say it's banned in Ontario he goes around telling people that all the time. It's a great joke."
Chris Layton, LCBO spokesman, said the vodka's skull-shaped bottle was a problem for the Ontario liquor board, the largest purchaser of alcohol and wine in North America.
"It's an image that's kind of associated with death, and I guess in some cases with death by poison the old skull and crossbones on bottles and that type of symbolism."
To date, the product has been only sold in Canada and the U.S. Crystal Head is about to be introduced in Europe, the Pacific Rim and Central and South America.
Layton said binge drinking that can result in alcohol poisoning, especially among young people, is a concern for both the LCBO and the responsible drinking groups it deals with.
"We try to strike a balance between the marketing needs of our suppliers and the responsible drinking groups.
"We didn't feel that the skull was a fit with the image that we've tried to cultivate."
Distilled in Ontario, Crystal Skull vodka is blended with Newfoundland water and bottled by the provincial liquor corporation.
Wally Dicks, supply chain vice-president for the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corp., said LCBO is the first to raise concerns about the skull-shaped bottle.
"It's a hot item in the United States California, Florida and it's hot in other parts of Canada, as well. But most of it is going to the U.S."
Visit the Crystal Head Vodka official site