Ontario vs. Dan Aykroyd's Skull Vodka

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Canadian actor Dan Akroyd has launched his own brand of vodka called Crystal Head. The liquor comes in a fiendish glass skull, which has apparently incurred the wrath of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), which controls all liquor sales in Akroyd's home province. The LCBO says it will refuse to sell Akroyd's Crystal Head, explaining, "The image of the human skull is the thing that's really problematic for us. That's an image that's commonly associated with death."

  • Akroyd Responds Dan Akroyd is laughing off the effective ban, saying, "I like it, it kind of makes the product more appealing in my view. ... This is a decision that's been made reflecting the appeal of the product, because the board is rightly concerned that under-aged drinkers may go to illegitimate means to obtain a bottle of Crystal Head, maybe steal it or whatever."
Whatever your take on the insidious power of the monopoly liquor system, you have to grant [LCBO official] Mr. Layton his point. The LCBO has banned or delisted other questionable packages, arguably to the public's benefit, including sexually degrading labels depicting topless women and a vodka brand called Kalishnikov that was presented for sale in a bottle shaped like an AK-47 assault rifle.

But a smiling skull? I find it kind of cute.

Plus, if British Columbia's experience with the product is any indication, this may be a tempest in a decanter. BC Liquor Stores have been selling Crystal Head since March, 2009, and have received no public complaints about the spirit or its packaging, said Tarina Palmer, spokeswoman for the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch.
  • This Is Censorship and Paternalism Reason's Jacob Sullum laments "public health paternalists" controlling what consumers can buy. "Applied by a provincial agency that serves as the liquor gatekeeper for all of Ontario, these judgments are a form of state-imposed censorship."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.