Rum named after porn star back on Manitoba liquor store shelves

If you live in Manitoba, you almost lost your chance to by a premium rum called Ron de Jeremy when authorities …Let's leave aside the question of why you'd buy booze named after Ron Jeremy, an aging, hairy porn star whose cinematic attributes do not include matinee idol looks.

But if you live in Manitoba, you almost lost your chance to by a premium rum called Ron de Jeremy (ron is apparently Spanish for rum, get it?) when authorities briefly pulled it off the shelves late last week, just nine days after its debut.

The label on the 80-proof rum feature's the face of Jeremy, whose nickname is "The Hedgehog" and who is probably the best known male porn performer in the world. The bottle is short and and fat, like him, though I expected the neck to be a lot longer.

The New York City-born Jeremy's everyman looks and light-hearted approach may account for his broader popularity outside the adult-film world. He's made appearances in mainstream movies and TV shows, has his own clothing line and a 2007 memoir, Ron Jeremy: The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz. So a booze brand isn't a a stretch, I guess.

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But apparently Ron de Jeremy didn't sit well with some customers at Manitoba's 26 government-run Liquor Mart stores. The National Post reported it was pulled off the shelves late last week following complaints. Authorities "erred on the side of caution," said Andrea Kowal, spokeswoman for Manitoba Liquor Control Commission.

Importer Andreas Runesson of Simplicity Wines of Winnipeg told the Winnipeg Free Press he had no idea what made authorities jerk Ron's rum off the shelves.

"We have asked them to explain and give us specifics about their concerns," he said, noting his company provided a sample that included the rum's retail packaging to the commission last July. It was approved for sale in January.

Runesson told the Toronto Star the liquor commission later called to say the product had been removed "in regards to a moral concern." The label calls it "the adult liquor" with a "long smooth taste" but makes no mention of the root of Jeremy's popularity.

But by Thursday, Jeremy's mustachioed mug was leering out at liquor store customers again after the commission decided there was nothing obscene about it.

“There’s nothing offensive about the name of the product or its label; you have to know who Ron Jeremy is and what his former profession was — and then that has to offend you,” Kowal told the Post.

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“I’m just happy this whole drama is behind us and we can work on getting rum to the Canadian people,” Olli Hietalahti, chief executive of One Eyed Spirits (seriously?), which makes it and sells it in 20 countries, said from the company's head office in Helsinki.

There's been no comment so far from the man himself. The 59-year-old Jeremy is in hospital recovering from emergency surgery to repair an aneurysm near his heart after he suffered chest pains late last month.

I don't know where else in Canada you can buy Ron de Jeremy. I couldn't find it on the B.C. Liquor Stores' web site and the Star said it's not available in Ontario. I suspect the recent publicity will create some demand, don't you?