Matthew Lillard’s Find Familiar Spirits And Critical Role Are Dropping A Collab Bourbon

Food & Drink

When actor Matthew Lillard and screenwriter Justin Ware unveiled Find Familiar Spirits in the summer of 2023, it was met with a mix of curiosity and disbelief. A premium spirits brand catering to the role-playing-games (RPG) community of Dungeons and Dragons and other tabletop games seemed like a fantastical idea. However, their first three releases, priced at $149 per bottle, were swiftly snapped up and their next release should create a sales frenzy for the company. It’s clear that gamers have a taste for fine whiskey.

By teaming up with the popular RPG web series Critical Role to release Sandkheg’s Hide, a limited edition super-premium bourbon, Find Familiar Spirits is literally expanding its universe. Much like fantasy worlds that its consumers routinely enter when playing their role-playing games, every product that Find Familiar Spirits releases comes with an elaborate backstory. That’s why they decided collaborating with Critical Role was the perfect way to expand their catalog beyond their initial Quest’s End product line.

“The idea of building something for communities and cultures that 99% of the world ignores is our bread and butter. I am a lifelong D & D player and avowed gaming geek,” says Lillard. “We started with Quest’s End, which is pointed at the D & D crowd that we know so well, and this project with Critical Role slots ideally into that category. We think their fans, the Critters, will freak out over it.”

Critical Role is a multi-platform entertainment phenomenon with a variety of shows including the flagship web series, comic books, graphic novels, animation, live performances, podcasts, and an ongoing animated series on Amazon. Critical Role takes the audience on an epic adventure through the fantasy world of Exandria. Their online streaming channels boast over 2.2M YouTube subscribers and 1.3M Twitch followers. They recently sold out Wembley Stadium in London for a nine-hour live gaming event that their fans followed online and in person.

Like each Quest’s End release slots into a fantasy world with a detailed fantasy saga booklet and exclusive bottle artwork, Sandkheg’s Hide slots into a world where Critical Role fans know intimacy. The Vox Machina adventure was a Critical Role game that played out over two years, and Sandkheg’s Hide was introduced in episode 65.

Priced at $99.95, the whiskey comes in a dark green bottle with a distressed label and wax seal that mirrors the liquor in the game. Created by master blender Ale Ochoa, the bourbon has a spicy flavor that fans should recognize. It also comes with an exclusive coin medallion around its neck and a “found” 44-page journal/short novella telling the story of the spirit. It is that attention to detail that has made each Find Familiar Spirit release quickly embraced by its fans.

“We are the Lamborghini of Geek whiskey and spirits, which means we must think very hard about anything we put our name on. Our fans have learned during our short time in operation that we are passionate about the community we are serving, and if we create something, they know it will be special,” says Lillard. “ We knew that we had to be very specific in finding stuff that we were excited about before moving forward. The minute we start selling out and just start creating things to fill a niche for someone, we will destroy the brand.”

According to Lillard, since the success of their first few releases, they have been approached by television shows, movie studios, and different brands, all wanting to collaborate on spirit projects built around their brands. They turned most away but plan to release a tequila in the fall with another community of gamers that they believe fit under the Find Familiar Spirits umbrella. That’s on top of the next two Quest’s End Whiskeys, Warlock and Dragon, which will be released in the summer and fall.

Sales of Sandkheg’s Hide will happen during a three-week window from May 2 to May 23 directly on the Find Familiar Spirits website, their distributor Seelbach’s, and the exclusive site SandkhegsHide.com. They will be available for presale to Find Familiar Spirits newsletter subscribers starting April 30.

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