Interview with Sari H Wilholm for BRANDS FOR FANS, creator Motorhead whisky
Recently Rock and Metal bands have been busy producing or endorsing wine and beers produced in their names. The most famous company for producing this type of branding is BRANDS FOR FANS, a Swedish based company with a taste for marketing and rock and roll. Both Sari Wilholm and Yvonne Wener are dedicated to bringing these fantastic metal flavors to the world. I decided to ask Sari Wilholm about her work with metal bands and in particular the legendary MOTORHEAD.
1. Thank you for taking the time to do this
No problem, our pleasure!
2. How did the business idea come about?
Most of my life I have been involved in music, one way or another. Had my own smaller festivals, booked gigs for bands, saw clothes to the bands and did what ever to help out.
When Brands For Fans came to life: We both (me and Yvonne Wener) come from the traditional wine industry, working with traditional brands (Jack Daniel´s, Fernet etc), and both being “fans” to different bands we always knew there was a passion …. We did some smaller collaboration with In Flames/Glenfarclas, also being “mothers” to Anders Fridéns own beer brand Frequency, (at the traditional wine importer) when it all started. We had the confirmation from fans that this was the new thing, beverage and bands. When launching these products with In Flames they sold out very fast. The fans did not care that the In Flames whisky cost 3750 sek!! Also, Motörhead Wine came out 2009, not via us but still, that was like magic for us! We knew we could do this so much better so there was one of the triggers for us.
When working, in the traditional wine co, for many years we decided to go for our own business with the focus on fans/bands. On an In Flames/Ghost concert November 19th 2011 we decided to “jump”..we had no clue what the f-k we where doing, the only thing we had was this idea to make this dream come thru. Working with bands, helping them developing their own beverage in close collaboration with us. February 2012 we started! Slayer wine was first out!
We knew all along the passion was there. If a new t-shirt comes up with for example Motörhead you just need to buy that! It´s not that big different, merch as merch.
3. Connecting and satisfying musicians cannot always be easy. How difficult is it and how do you handle each musicians wants or needs?
We have had no problems at all. We meet all the bands we work with and make sure they are dedicated and “sign in” on this. We need them and the fans need them to show that this is the real stuff. Also, it is very important that the band makes beverage this way, with passion and dedication!
As for Motörhead, Mikkey has been very involved in making of the entire beverage portfolio but as for Motörhead Whisky or “Shwisky” as Lem called it, Lem was the main person in the whisky process. Of course Mikkey and Phil had their say in the whisky too but this seam to be something Lem really liked and wanted to do. Phil has been very involved making the cider and the Röad Crew beer.
If bands have many members they have of course different taste profiles. Motörhead for example is the band with the largest beverage portfolio of them all! Not one of those products has passed without them being involved!
4. Do you have a favorite drink?
No, it is so different depending on your mood. A good beer is great when it is warm, a whisky is fantastic when just chilling, a nice wine is great to food and of course, a good Champagne goes down anytime..haha
5. How long did it take to produce the Motorhead whisky? (Whisky spelled “Whisky” because it is not a bourbon from US)
It took no less than three years of trying out different samples before they finally got everything
right. Motörhead’s drummer Mikkey Dee brought a sample to the studio.
The band was in the middle of doing the mixes for the album “Bad Magic” when he presented
samples to Lemmy and guitarist Phil Campbell. “The whisky is incredibly good and all of us in the band have been active in the production process and are very proud of the result. They tried different samples but there was no doubt which one we all preferred. Lemmy’s reaction after trying it? - This one taste fucking great!
6. What is the future of your brand?
Not sure if you mean Brands For Fans? But if so is of course to work with more artists in different genres and we want to work with strong female artists too.
7. On a related note is U.S. distribution in the future?
We are struggling with US, believe me if I say we tried for some years now..we will not give up, it is happening! Some day:O)
8. Tell us about your partnership with Sweden rock festival and are there any other festivals you work with?
We are developing Sweden Rock Festivals yearly whiskies since 2015. Also we done limited edition rums, beer and wine with them. It works really well, the festival visitors are of course “fans” to the festival and comes back year after year so the same passion is there as for bands. We launched an rum, Sweden Rock Holy Spirit Rum, with the festival in December that was by far one of the best rums I tasted!
9. Where can your products be purchased?
In most of Europa, also now in some parts of Canada. You will find that info by checking our web page and click on “retailers”.
1. Anything you would like to say to fans of metal in general?
Just that we love all fans, their passion gives us the energy to keep on doing this. Also, we love working with our bands, they are also passionate about this, just love it!