Don’t Dare Package Something in a Skull or Dan Aykroyd Will Sue You

It doesn’t have to be vodka, either
Don’t Dare Package Something in a Skull or Dan Aykroyd Will Sue You

Dan Aykroyd is a man of many hats/rubber Conehead scalps. He’s an actor, a musician, a paranormal blow job authority. He’s also a booze magnate, the co-founder of Crystal Head Vodka, which offers additive-free, quadruple-distilled vodka in a bottle shaped like a dead human being’s cranium. Which human being? According to forensic analysis, this complete and utter nightmare:

But Crystal Head Vodka hasn’t been without its fair share of controversy. It was initially banned in Aykroyd’s home province because the Liquor Control Board of Ontario thought that the skull was a “problematic” image for their stores. While that dispute was eventually resolved, Aykroyd was also worried that Steven Spielberg would think that his unique container was ripping off Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which came out the same year as its alcoholic namesake. 

Come to think of it, a head-sized gulping of vodka might just be the only way to enjoy that movie. 

Ayrkoyd claims that their skulls, like the ones in the movie, were inspired by “the crystal skulls used by the Aztec, Maya and Navajo” which were used to “project positive energy and enlightenment.” Unlike other vodkas, Aykroyd’s is filtered through Herkimer diamonds that he notes are “thought by many to have metaphysical associations,” thus adding a “spiritual touch” to the product. 

Watching this eerily preachy commercial, it’s surprising that the vodka doesn’t come with a free copy of Dianetics:

In the years since it came out, Aykroyd’s company has been extremely aggressive when it comes to ensuring that no other liquor brands put their products inside of glass skulls, even though one might assume that the human skull isn’t necessarily trademarkable. 

It’s not just rival vodka companies, in 2017, the company sued a tequila brand that came in a skull-shaped bottle that they claimed was a “cheap knockoff” of Crystal Head. The jury ultimately sided with Aykroyd and found “willful” infringement by the tequila company.

In 2019, they sued another tequila maker over skull bottles, and in 2022 they sued department store chain TJ Maxx for just selling glass skulls, minus the vodka, that they claim “infringe the design rights of the Crystal Head vodka brand.” 

Even more controversially, back in 2017, Aykroyd “threatened to sue” a small hot sauce company run by an English husband and wife “for trademark infringement” unless they agreed to destroy their entire inventory. Why? Because, of course, said hot sauce came packaged in a skull. As Vice noted at the time, Aykroyd seemingly “decided that he alone is the only one who is allowed to appropriate this particular aspect of Native American culture.”

“I can’t believe this big company is trying to shut down a small family business,” said Bobby Powers of Bloody Hell Hot Sauce. “They don’t just want us to stop selling our sauce, they want us to destroy absolutely everything.” 

So much for positive energy and enlightenment! 

You’d think someone with so much magic diamond hooch coursing through their veins would be a bit more laid back. 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this).  


Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?