Dan Aykroyd Talks Crystal Head Vodka With Philly2Philly.com

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In his long and storied career, Dan Aykroyd has worn many hats. In addition to his acting career, which kick-started when he became an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, Aykroyd is a successful screenwriter (Ghostbusters), musician (The Blues Brothers), wine maker, and now…….vodka distiller.   Dan Aykroyd with Joe Vallee

In his long and storied career, Dan Aykroyd has worn many hats. In addition to his acting career, which kick-started when he became an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, Aykroyd is a successful screenwriter (Ghostbusters), musician (The Blues Brothers), wine maker, and now…….vodka distiller.   Dan Aykroyd with Joe Vallee

That’s right. Aykroyd’s latest endeavor has him promoting his Crystal Head Vodka, which he was signing bottles of at the Philadelphia Wine & Spirits Store on Chestnut Street yesterday.

As the lines wrapped around the aisles, Aykroyd, one of the more jovial and approachable celebrities you will come across, ceremoniously burst through the side doors of the store, shouting “Merry Christmas Everybody!” as the crowd erupted into cheers. When I asked Aykroyd what the inspiration was for Crystal Head Vodka, his responses were thoughtful, clear, and what else? humorous.

“About two years ago I was in New York City with my good friend, John Alexander. He is a landscape artist and all kinds of people own his work: Jimmy Buffett, Paul Simon, Chevy Chase, Lorne Michaels, myself. I was telling him about how I have the good fortune to be the importer to Canada for Patron Tequila. When I told him I was doing that, he said that he always wanted to do tequila in a glass skull to celebrate the Day of the Dead.” Aykroyd, who holds a strong belief in spiritualism, had an epiphany. “It just came to me in two minutes. I said ‘If we’re gonna do that, then we’re gonna bring back the legend of the crystal heads.’

Alexander then designed the skull, which looks like something directly out of an Indiana Jones movie. The tequila then became vodka. However, Dan Aykroyd holds his Crystal Head Vodkathis isn’t JUST your ordinary vodka. It is quadruple distilled and filtered through Herkimer diamonds. In addition to the packaging and its one-of-a-kind design, Aykroyd takes great pride in the ingredients that are used to make the vodka. Moreover, he is quite pleased at the taster response, as well as the recognition its received from industry peers.

“When we first started the project two years ago, we had the bottle, the legend of the head, the celebrity tie-in. We had a fluid we liked. We had the inspiration to take all the additives out: no fusel oils, no glycol, no sugar, no citrus oils, and now I’ve got a real story to talk about because people are responding to the taste.”

“When you drink vodka in a mixed drink, you’re drinking an additive like Red Bull, Clamato, or Orangina. They have certain additives in there to make them taste like they taste. So don’t you wanna drink a vodka that has no additives that’s completely stripped? If you’re doing a story based on empowerment and self enlightenment, you have to put a clean fluid in the bottle. So we stripped all the additives out, and we recently won a 91 Point Rating and two Silver Awards.”

Of course, you can’t talk to Dan Aykroyd in Philadelphia without mention of his classic comedy “Trading Places,” which was shot here in late 1982-early 1983.

“Architecturally this is such a beautiful city, and I knew this would be a great city to do it (the movie) in. Wow, we had a great time here doing that, and man we were young then,” he laughs.

During the last decade, Aykroyd’s numerous off-screen activities have forced him to cut down on his acting roles. And although he hasn’t walked away from movies altogether, he’s not exactly sure about plans for making the long-rumored “Ghostbusters 3.”  “We have to get a script first and see what happens.”

Until then, Dan Aykroyd has plenty of things to keep himself busy. An award-winning vodka will do that for you.

For more info about Crystal Head Vodka, go to www.crystalheadvodka.com

Very special thanks to Laura Baddish of Baddish Group  Public Relations  and Francesca Chapman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board  for making this all possible.

Photo Gallery: Joe Vallee Sr. (josephv985@aol.com)

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2 COMMENTS

    • Thanks!

      Thanks Smitty!  He was an awesome guy.  Extremely personable and a real chatter box.  When I told him I didn’t want to take too much of his time, he told me not to worry at all about that and to take my time.  I haven’ t tried the vodka yet, but I heard it rocks!

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