Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ron de Jeremy returning to Liquor Mart shelves

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RON de Jeremy is headed back to Liquor Mart shelves -- the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission has found nothing inappropriate about the Panamanian rum or its packaging.

Bottles of rum bearing the name and likeness of adult-film star Ron Jeremy had been removed following customer complaints, said Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries spokeswoman Karen Hiebert, describing the decision to remove the product as a matter of erring on the side of caution.

"We've reviewed the decision and decided to return the product to our Liquor Mart shelves," Hiebert said in a statement. "In this case, we felt there was nothing inappropriate about the product name or its label."

In January, 26 Liquor Marts in Manitoba began selling Ron de Jeremy, a seven-year-old premium rum produced in Panama.

The Manitoba Liquor Control Commission ordered 60 cases of the 80-proof rum, which retails for $43.75 before taxes for a 26-ounce bottle.

The name of the product is a play on words, as ron means rum in Spanish, while the 59-year-old Jeremy is one of the world's best-known porn stars. The Ron de Jeremy product line was launched in 2010 and is marketed as "the adult rum" with a "long, smooth taste" on the company's U.S.-based website.

The bottle's label features Jeremy's face but no reference to his work in more than 1,000 pornographic films. The product went on sale Jan. 24 but was removed from Liquor Mart shelves nine days later, said Andreas Runesson, managing director of operations for Simplicity Wines, the product's Winnipeg-based importer.

Runesson said he still has no idea why the product was pulled and would like to hear from the MLCC.

"The process is very irregular. We should have been notified before the product was pulled," Runesson said. "I find it strange behaviour from the government liquor board."

The product will return to shelves soon, Hiebert said.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 15, 2013 A2

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