Matthew Lillard On Combining Quest’s End Whiskey With Fantasy Storytelling
18 mins read

Matthew Lillard On Combining Quest’s End Whiskey With Fantasy Storytelling

Summary

  • Matthew Lillard and Justin Ware have founded a new spirits company, Find Familiar Spirits, which combines high-quality whiskies with original fantasy sagas.
  • Their first product, Quest’s End, is a high-end whiskey that will come with a new chapter of an original fantasy saga with each bottle.
  • The flavor profiles of the whiskies are developed by Master Blender Alé Ochoa based on the characters and story, with each whiskey reflecting the qualities and characteristics of the corresponding character.
  • Matthew Lillard, founder of Beadle and Grimm’s, is making waves in the fantasy world once again with his new, first-of-its-kind whiskey, Quest’s End. Lillard and Justin Ware have founded a new spirits company, Find Familiar Spirits, which combines high-quality spirits with fandom. Their first product, Quest’s End, will bring fantasy fans not only a new high-end whiskey but also a new chapter of an original fantasy saga with each bottle. Quest’s End will debut with “Paladin,” which will begin the story and feature a flavor profile that includes notes of vanilla and fruit with an undercurrent of spice to reflect the noble goals of a Paladin as well as their fighting spirit.

    Quest’s End will launch with Paladin on October 6, followed by Rogue, Warlock, and Dragon in 2024. With each new release comes a new chapter in the ongoing saga, which will feature the character, weapon, or location that the whiskey is named for. Lillard and Ware joined forces with Blue Run Spirits co-founder Tim Sparapani, whom they describe as their Spirits Guide, to create Quest’s End. Alé Ochoa is the Master Blender, with Kate Welch writing the fantasy saga and Tyler Jacobsen providing original art.

    Related: Five Nights At Freddy’s Makes Matthew Lillard’s Original Horror Villain Even Better

    Matthew Lillard spoke with Screen Rant about his new fantasy whiskey, Quest’s End. He shared what inspired the combination of spirits and story, as well as why they wanted to launch Quest’s End with Paladin. Lillard also explained how Master Blender Alé Ochoa develops the flavor profiles based on the characters and story. Lillard teased his upcoming Dungeons & Dragons series, Faster Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! Note: This interview was conducted during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, and therefore does not touch on any struck work.

    Matthew Lillard Talks Quest’s End Whiskey

    Quest's End Bottle & Book Paladin

    Screen Rant: It is so great to meet you. I’m such a big fan. And I just asked you, this is such a cool idea.

    Matthew Lillard: Oh, thank you. I was just saying to Brandon, “I have it.” And I’m like, “Oh.”

    That is gorgeous.

    Matthew Lillard: Yeah. We’re really excited about it. I mean, it’s fun.

    What inspired the combination of whiskey and storytelling to create this fantasy experience that is Quest’s End.

    Matthew Lillard: There’s three of us that were talking and one of our friends guy named Tim Sparapani, we call him our spirit guide. He owned a company called Blue Run. And Blue Run was just sold to Molson Coors for lots of money. But we saw the joy he was having in terms of building this whiskey brand, and solving riddles, and sort of bringing together a high-end direct to customer whiskey experience and growing the brand. And so I have a company called Beadle & Grimm’s.

    And Justin was like, “You guys are both doing the same thing in a different space. What have you combined the two?” And so this idea of creating a high-end whiskey experience for Dungeons & Dragons players or for the RPG fantasy space just made sense to us. And we’re like, “Well, let’s see what happens if we start trying to put elements together.” We called Kate Walsh, we called Tyler Jacobson. Both of them love the idea. And with that, we sort of jumped in and started to build.

    I love that. And then can you talk a little bit about the unique flavor profiles of each whiskey and how they tie into the new characters or chapters that get introduced with them?

    Matthew Lillard: A great question. So our master blender is this woman… Well, she’s this woman named Ale Ochoa, and she’s the master blender. And as we build the story, we sort of incorporate her in that storytelling process. And as we’re going through our lead character for this first drop, her name’s Sarin of the Pit, she’s a Paladin of this god Inxa. Inxa is the god we made up. And we started to explain to her why Sarin, why this woman was a badass and why she was a follower of this god, and how she has this mace.

    I don’t want to give away too much, but as we started to articulate what a Paladin is in the RPG space, what Inxa and what that god was, and how that would sort of infuse the character with characteristics, Ale started to put together language around what that whiskey would taste like. We want this spice, a heat on it, because Inxa has this god of life and there’s this fire behind it. So as we were talking, she was adding this language around the kind of whiskey that she was interested in blending.

    And so then, when we went out and we started collecting all these samples, she started to build that palette. And that was the beginning. She did the same thing with Rogue. And as we’re moving through, she is somebody that is moved by ideas and then finding the right whiskey to create that, to complete that recipe. So it is like she is sent from above that Ale Ochoa, our master blender. She is incredible.

    Quest's End Paladin Booklet

    That is so cool. And why did you want to start the story off with Paladin, if you can tease that at all?

    Matthew Lillard: Oh, great question. I love that question. So Paladin, for people that don’t know, is like a holy warrior, somebody who fights in the name of a purpose and a cause. And so, both Justin and I come from the entertainment industry, and for years have always been agents for hire when somebody else thinks you’re worthy. And we’re sort of like, we’re done with that story.

    We want to create our own destiny. We want to be in charge or help build something of our own and not wait for approval from other people. So the idea of Paladin and having a higher purpose really spoke to us about being… We’re both fathers, we’re both raising our kids and we don’t want to be held. We don’t want to have to wait for permission to be creative men as we move through our lives.

    And so, our purpose is to create our own destiny and do things that we’re excited about. I mean, Quest’s End is the first in many iterations. And our whole thing is what is guiding us is more important than what the end result is.

    I love that. And I was also curious because you said this is kind of the start. Is this something you want to expand into an even larger experience like gameplay or adapting the story?

    Matthew Lillard: I mean, our company is called Find Familiar Spirits, and it works a little like a movie studio. Any movie studio has different genres, different avenues in which they’re producing movies. Some of those movies can be little art house movies, some of them could be big blockbusters, but they’re always operating to provide different stories and create different story verticals. And so for us, that’s where we’re going to live.

    We want to live in a world where we can, if we want to go create a whiskey based on this thing that we’re excited about, then we can go do that. And we’re already with the success. We haven’t even sold yet a single bottle, but it feels like we’re onto something really great with it. And so we’re launching Quest’s End on October 6th, and we are already moving on to what’s next in multiple different facets, and we’re excited about the future.

    I love it. I’m also really excited for Faster Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!

    Matthew Lillard: Oh, that’s awesome. Oh, thank you. It’s going to be so good. I mean we’ve done 20 shows, I’ve watched them all, I’ve given notes on all of them. We’ve built this thing that we were super hopeful that it would work and it’s worked a hundred times better than we could have ever imagined. And so we can’t wait for people to see it. We think people are going to lose their minds.

    Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!

    Oh, I love that. What about that stands out from other D&D shows that fans should get excited about?

    Matthew Lillard: I think it’s funny. I know the pitch from Faster Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! is whose line is it anyways, meeting Dungeons & Dragons? Four first level characters go off into the world to be the heroes of legend and end up meeting an epic Dungeons & Dragons monster and get completely obliterated.

    So I think what they could be excited about is a lot of fun, a lot of different gameplay, a lot of diverse tables with every sort of tapestry of humanity represented at our tables. And then, I think at the end of the day, there’s this through line of comradery and fellowship and how people play and enjoy, and also a lot of heart, which is something we did not expect to happen, which is the secret gift that we found through the shooting of the show.

    That is fantastic. I cannot wait. What has it been like working with Dungeons & Dragons on these different projects?

    Matthew Lillard: So Quest’s End is not related to Dungeons & Dragons in any way of shape or form, which is super important that we acknowledge that we are a fantasy based whiskey, not a Dungeons & Dragons based whiskey. So we’re not associated with them for this. But look, in general, my relationship with Beadle & Grimm’s, which is a company I own with four of my best friends, and building products for this community has been…

    So the idea of going to work with Dungeons & Dragons is that you’re always telling a story. And to me, that’s one of the things that we brought back into Find Familiar, into Quest’s End is the idea that each bottle is delivered. We deliver a 16-page booklet that has an ongoing story of this character in this incredible art. So the idea for us is we don’t ever just do products. We do projects based in wrapped in lore, based in wrapped in story, and enveloping our customers with more than just something. We give them everything.

    Oh, that’s so cool. And then I know you talked about you guys are moving into other areas as well. I was curious because you’re such a prominent person in the horror fan base. Is that a genre you guys want to explore with this as well?

    Matthew Lillard: No comment.

    I will not tell a lie. Look, here’s the thing. I will say this. We have, in our first four verticals spans, a wide gamut of things that we each find very excited, from the obtuse and weird to things you may or may not assume.

    Matthew Lillard as Stu in Scream

    Well, I’m very excited to find out more when we can. And then I’m curious too, as a D&D player, have you ever played a character based on one of the characters you’ve played in movies?

    Matthew Lillard: It’s funny, I have. I played a serial killer in this game. So it was super fun but a little too meta for me. You know what I mean? It was like, “Well, I didn’t really love it.” One of them is work and one of them is like however people relate to those characters isn’t necessarily who I am now or how I want to represent the game.

    I get that. And then what has been the most surprising part of this journey for Quest’s End with you?

    Matthew Lillard: For me, it’s twofold. The real sense of accomplishment as we come around, it’s been a year and a half almost building this. And as we’re coming around third base and heading for home, how incredibly gratifying it is to have a vision to go out, convince other people of your vision and to build something collectively with people that you really like. And seeing it come to fruition is really powerful.

    But more importantly, I really think that what is surprising to me has been how quickly the community has responded to what we’ve presented. We’ve got 40,000 people on a waiting list to buy 5,000 bottles. And Lion Share of publicity is coming now. We haven’t even done a tie-in yet with Beadle & Grimm’s and we’re going to. So the idea that we’ve struck a chord in people is surprising and humbling.

    Quest's End Paladin Bottle

    That’s so cool. And I’m not surprised at all to, be honest.

    Matthew Lillard: No, you’re not? You’re not?

    No. The D&D community is one of my favorite fandoms. They’re loyal.

    Matthew Lillard: Yeah, yeah. But the funny thing is, I could tweet about Beadle & Grimm’s or doing Faster, Purple Worm Kill Kill, and I’ll get a 1% of what I got on this. And so, it’s interesting. That’s all.

    And can you talk a little bit about collaborating with Kate Walsh and Tyler Jacobson to create the art and the story itself?

    Matthew Lillard: Yeah. So one of the first things we did is we went to Tyler as a company and said, “Okay, we’re doing this thing.” The first act of creation is you have to say it out loud. You have to tell other people. You have to sort of write it down on a calendar to say, “We’re going to do this.” And so much of that is intimidating, because you don’t know if other people are going to receive it. You don’t know if your idea is cool to you and nobody else.

    So the idea of going to Tyler early and saying, “Hey, this is what we’re doing. We think this is really cool.” And him saying, “Oh my God, that’s the best idea ever. I’m in.” He didn’t say that’s the best idea ever, but he’s like, “That is a wicked awesome idea, I’m totally in,” was rocket fuel for the dream, a validated, what we thought was cool in a really profound way. And then, you have arguably one of the greatest living D&D fantasy artists in the world on board is like, not only is somebody validating your dream, but they’re flexing it up.

    And then going to Kate, the idea is our whole thing is we want to lift women, we want to lift diversity. And so it’s a big thing for us. And so we wanted a storyteller, we want a female storyteller. And I’ve known Kate for a long time. She’s incredibly busy and successful in her own work right now. But to pull her as well, to pull the two of them was awesome. And then the creative process has been great. We’ve never worked together before and I can’t imagine not working with them again.

    They’re incredible. Their ability to say yes and their ability to advocate for their point of view without taking things personally has been incredible. Just creatively all the way around, it’s been a dream team and we feel really lucky.

    I love it. Like I said, I cannot wait for this, for all this stuff you guys are working on. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me.

    Matthew Lillard: Thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time to write about us and it makes a huge impact on our trajectory. So we’re really just grateful that you said yes. Thank you.

    Quest’s End launches on October 6 with Paladin which will be available exclusively at www.questsendwhiskey.com and www.seelbachs.com.

    Source: Screen Rant Plus

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