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Dan Aykroyd’s Love of Vodka and Israel

The Hollywood A-lister is as much battling spirits as bottling spirits

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Ottawa-born and bred Dan Aykroyd

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I was almost eight years old when I first saw the Blues Brothers film poster, and my initial reaction was “look at that, two guys in black suits and black fedoras – must be a movie about a couple of frum guys.”

 That was June, 16 1980 – almost forty years ago to the day.

Since that time, Ottawa-born and bred Dan Aykroyd has become one of Hollywood’s A-listers, with a string of hits as My GirlTrading Places, and probably his most famous role as Ray Stantz in Ghostbusters, with a reboot due out next March.

 In other ventures, he’s gone from battling spirits to bottling spirits – as the public face and driving force behind Crystal Head vodka.

 Thirteen years ago, he saw an opportunity to enter the market after an already successful launch with Patreon tequila.

 “I began to research vodkas. I began to taste them, smell them – all of them. You know what? In the end, I didn’t like what I was smelling and tasting,” he told TheJ.ca.

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His complaint was that, as a rule, vodkas “smell like perfume – offensive – or they smell like nothing.” Worse, he saw many of them had an oily consistency, later discovering that companies often add glycerides or sugar for sweetness, to disguise the scent of the alcohol.

He sought a “pure spirit” without flavour packages, oils or impurities. To this end, the water is schlepped from the Great Wisconsin Glacier Well, which sits under Newfoundland. For an added touch, the vodka is poured over semi-precious stones “for that last satin finish.”

“Nobody goes through the trouble to make cleaner vodka that I do,” he boasted.

Now, several international awards later, and in this, the brand’s Bar-mitzvah year, he says he’s ready to ramp up distribution in Israel bigger than before.

Dan is the public face and driving force behind Crystal Head vodka

Pre-pandemic, the vodka had quite the following at bars and restaurants, he said.

“We have a big constituency in Israel, the nightclubs. There is a huge Russian community that gobbles it up there. LGBTQ Russians like that we are a Canadian vodka,” he says. “Because the treatment of LGBTQ people in Russia is really harsh. It’s the fact that we come from a tolerant country and embrace those communities.”

“From the biker bars, to the goth bars, to the LGBTQ bars, to the fine steakhouses, Crystal Head is there.”

But it’s not just the parties and bars… Crystal Head is a great Kiddush beverage, too, he insisted.

“It goes good with chopped liver and gefilte fish and all the Jewish food. The vodka – cold shot of vodka – goes down good with the food,” he said. “Seders too, yeah.”  

And it turns out that the Blues Brothers looking like yeshiva bochurs, and Crystal Head vodka’s popularity in Israel, are the least of Dan Aykroyd’s Jewish connections.

The author with Mr Aykroyd

In 2008, he traveled to Israel with a friend involved with the HESEG Foundation. As he explained, the organization “encourages [IDF enlistees] to stay and have kids in Israel, instead of going back to wherever they came from. So, they have housing projects, subsidies, et cetera. So, if a Polish or South African officer is serving in the IDF, and he wants to stay in Israel, and wants to have his family there, they make it happen.”

His tour also took him “right on the Galilee and near the Golan Heights” in addition to Tel Aviv, where the air force “scrambled a couple of jets for me.”

“A man and a woman about 19 or 20, got into these F-18s and took off. It was so impressive. It was really just great. The rest of the region there has no air power that can compare to Israel – thank God. Just to see those professionals doing a good job such a young age, is really cool.”

 “As a Christian going there, I really enjoyed it. I want to go back.”

That probably goes for the rest of us too; but until things go back to normal, let us clink a l’chaim with Crystal Head and celebrate its Bar-mitzvah, until we can begin celebrating actual Bar-mitzvahs again!

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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