Celebrity clothing lines, fragrances and restaurants may get all the limelight, but more and more stars are also cashing in on the alcohol biz. There's Mario Andretti, Joe Montana, Francis Ford Coppola, Martha Stewart and, more to the point, Dan Aykroyd.
The 56-year-old actor launched Dan Aykroyd Wines in his native Canada last year. Now he's debuting another spirited beverage, Crystal Head Vodka. He'll spend Friday evening on a promotional junket through Tampa Bay.
At each of his four stops, Aykroyd will revive his Saturday Night Live refrigerator repairman character to introduce the vodka, says Phil Joffray, Tampa rep for Cyrstal Head. Aykroyd will sign and number the limited-edition bottles for folks who have bought one either in advance or on site. The price will vary by location, with some of the proceeds going to charity.
The quadruple-distilled vodka is made in Newfoundland and comes in a 750-milliliter skull-shaped bottle. Early next year, Crystal Head Vodka will retail in a more traditional bottle for $49.99 at liquor stores. A new collectable bottle will premiere each year.
On Wednesday, Akyroyd performed at House of Blues Orlando as part of a Blues Brothers reunion concert. So can we expect Jim Belushi or another famous friend to join him in Tampa?
"You never know. He's got friends all over," Joffray says.
Perhaps a solo performance, then?
"You never know, because we can't tell him what to do and he won't promise to do anything," Joffray says.
We can confirm that each venue has blocked off two hours for Aykroyd's appearance. He'll spend about an hour at each place. Here's his itinerary.
5 to 7 p.m.: MJ's Martini Jazz and Tapas Lounge Buy a bottle of vodka for $100 (20 percent goes to All Children's Hospital), and Aykroyd will sign and number it for you in the restaurant's wine-tasting area. The restaurant will be open, so even those who don't buy a bottle should catch a glimpse of the actor. As for an impromptu concert, owner/chef Domenica Macchia says, "I figure if we get him drunk enough on his vodka ... " No cover. 445 99th Ave. N, St. Petersburg, 727-329-6600; mjsjazzlounge.com.
7 to 9 p.m.: The Venue This is your best bet for an extended hobnob with Aykroyd, because "he'll probably have dinner in the VIP area," Joffray says. No cover before 10 p.m. 2675 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater, (727) 571-2222; thevenueclub.com.
9 to 11 p.m.: Blue Martini All patrons will have an opportunity to rub elbows with Aykroyd, regardless of whether they buy a bottle of Crystal Head. He'll do the signing in the VIP area. Cover is $10. At International Plaza, 2223 N West Shore Blvd., Tampa, (813) 873-2583; bluemartinilounge.com.
11 to 1 a.m.: The Fox Jazz Club Will Aykroyd belt out Soul Man? "We're hoping that he will," Joffray says. "We're kind of prodding the band at the Fox to ask them to play with him, but you never know." Bottles will go for $100. Cover is $10. 5401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, (813) 289-8446; foxjazzclub.com.