The State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland (ÁTVR), has banned sales of Motörhead Shiraz in the country because the name “Motörhead” is apparently a nod to amphetamine abuse.
Launched by the British rock band’s frontman Lemmy Kilmister, ÁTVR has refused to sell the Australian wine in the 48 Vínbúðin off-licences it owns across the country.
In defence of the move, the company said the wine promoted an unhealthy lifestyle due to references to war, unsafe sex and substance abuse in Motörhead songs.
The wine’s Icelandic importer, Hjörleifur Árnason, has launched an appeal against the ban.
Although ÁTVR has a monopoly on alcohol retail in Iceland, importers and distributors are able to deal directly with bars, restaurants and cafés, meaning the wine could still be sold in the country and can expect a higher profile following the controversy.
The band, which has been together for 37 years, has given its name to Motörhead Shiraz, as well as several other products, including Motörhead Vodka and Motörhead Rosé.
Last March, Árnason applied for a licence to sell Motörhead Shiraz in Vínbúðin outlets.
The application was rejected by ÁTVR on the grounds that the message accompanying the product was negative.
Árnason now fears that further celebrity wines will be banned in Iceland, including those by The Rolling Stones, AC/DC and Elvis Presley
Motorhead Shiraz was first released in Sweden in 2010, and has sold 120,000 bottles to date.
Great Wine Online is currently selling the South Eastern Australian wine for £14.50 a bottle in the UK, describing it on the website as “fruity, with hints of blackberry, plum, eucalyptus and liquorice.”
ÁTVR, Iceland’s public sector alcohol retail monopoly, runs 48 off-licenses in the country.