Matthew Lillard on Quest’s End: Sandkheg’s Hide and Working with Critical Role  (2024)

Matthew Lillard’s Find Familiar Spirits is teaming up with Critical Role to create Quest’s End: Sandkheg’s Hide, an in-world limited-edition super-premium whiskey with an all-new story set in the universe for fans. The presale will start on April 30 and last until May 1. Then, it will be on sale from May 2 to May 23.

Inspired by the description of the bottle in the episode, the exciting new bourbon comes in dark green glass with a distressed label, wax seal, and exclusive coin medallion around its neck, tucked inside a burlap bag. Designed to look like an in-world shipping crate, the whiskey’s unique box will also contain a “found” journal from the Exandrian maker of Sandkheg’s Hide that tells the story of this unique concoction.

I caught up with him to talk about this fun collaboration, taste-testing the different whiskeys, seeing the bottle come to life thanks to the talent creative team, which of his characters he would want to make a product tied to, and more. Keep reading for everything he shared!

Matthew Lillard on Quest’s End: Sandkheg’s Hide and Working with Critical Role (1)

Well, this collaboration is so cool. Talk to me about how it happened and what it was like to do.
Matthew Lillard: Well, I was at lunch with Jason Kletzky, who runs the licensing for Critical Role, he’s agood buddy of mine and at the lunch, I was explaining sort of the success we had withQuest’s End. So Quest’s End launched with Paladin, and we sold out in two weeks. We put up a waiting list, we had 25,000 people on the waiting list in a week.It’s crazy. Then we launched Paladin +1, which was hugely successful,more successful than the first drop, and he was like, “You guys should do something.Would you ever be interested in doing something with Critical Role?” And I’m not a Critter, I’m nota kid that watches streaming shows, but I am a huge fan of those people and how they run their business, their inclusivity and their love for the community, and how they build and how authentic they are.

I mean, we, as Quest’s End, emulate them and aspire to be like them in this world.So when he said that, we jumped at the opportunity. We sat with them and they said,“Bring back an idea.” We are not a company that’s ever gonna slap a label on a thing and sort ofcapitalize on people’s passion, we want to add value, right? What does our value add to thecommunity? So yeah, I went to a buddy of mine named Chris Daly, who is a Critter, and I’m like,“Hey, if you could build anything in the Critical Role world, what would it be?”He gave us a 10-page dossier of everything that’s ever been in box and we ended up going with Sandkheg’s because of the moment. The moment when Mercer pulls outsort of the bottle and explains it in character, and then, Grog’s response. I mean, all of it was sort of perfect and there was so much there that we could mine, that we did. We went out and found this glass in Italy that’s chipped and a little misshapen because he describes this green bottle and we’re dipping it in wax.

He talks about the fact that it’s a bile of a giant monster, so we sort ofleave that to the side. But Ale Ochoa, who’s our master blender, basically took thedescription and did her alchemy, and created something that’s barrel-agedin vermouth and barrel-aged in sherry, and it’s delicious. Last Friday, we sat with the entirecast, Sam wasn’t there, but we flew Ale out from Kentucky,and she made ten different samples and brought her threefavorite. We all sat around a table, and for an hour and a half basically tasted the threeoptions and Ale walked us through this whole tasting process. It was really incredible,and that’s what we picked. There was bottle number three, bottle numberfive, and bottle number six, and we ended up picking number five. And so, that whole experiencewas super rewarding, and working with them has been nothing but a dream. They’ve been awesome.

Matthew Lillard on Quest’s End: Sandkheg’s Hide and Working with Critical Role (2)

I’m actually going to ask you to go off of that becauseI imagine the taste-testing process and going through those journeys with each bottle and differentflavors must be so fascinating. Can you tell me a little bitabout doing that and seeing the right one come to life and embody what you were making?
Listen,the reality was that, at that moment, we were sitting in service of the team,right? So Ale brought a simple one that was more palpable, like sort of entry-level, she brought one that had a lot more heat on it, and then brought one thatended up being a great combination of both. But for us, we sat and listened, right? We reallywanted them to express themselves in this and so, for us, it was great to be there to providethem with — each one of them could have been delivered, there’s no wrong version here, right?

The way they spoke about it, the way we all talked, how the flavor was exploring, you know, how the flavor kept increasing, we added water, what did that do to it? But the conversations were rich, right? Like, the amount of effort and the conversationsabout how it represented the moment best is why we chose this blend. All three of them are greatwhiskeys but we thought it was important that we chose the one that best represented themoment on the show.

I like what you said about notwanting to just slap a label on it and I imagine it’s rewarding for you when your partners feels the same waysince you are so passionate. Do you look for that same quality when collaborating on stuff like this?
Listen, in success, we will do more stuff and hopefully, this does well. I think that theconversations that we’re already having around stuff to create, our juices are pumping, so hopefully, thisdoes well. I mean, it is an interesting sale and I do say this, I always try to articulatethis, because we move so quickly and because we do sort of limited drops a lot like a sneaker company, we are doing a three-week window sale. Once that window’s closed, the sales overand it goes away. So, you can go to SandkhegsHide.com and get signed up for the presale. The presale lasts 48 hours. We are shipping them sequentially on how people purchase and we are pre-building a certain amount of bottles, so if you’re in that firstlot, you will get your bottle very early. If you’re in the second lot, third lot, or fourth lot,then you can expect to get it later, but it’s important to sort of say that out loud as we’retalking about this moment.

Matthew Lillard on Quest’s End: Sandkheg’s Hide and Working with Critical Role (3)

I was readingthe description of what the bottle is going to look like, so what is your favorite part or element of how itcame out? It seems like it is going to be incredible.
Oh, that’s good. It’s easy actually. So we went out and hiredJasmine Bhullar, Tyler Walpole, and Deven Rue to do the creative aspect. In the product,there’s a found journal, it’s awesome and the story is great. Jasmine wrote the story, Tyler did the art,and Deven did the cartography and did the map. So, to me, finding these three sort of Critter-approved Critical Role sort of icons, artistic icons, gathering them together, and because Justin and I come from the creative world — I mean, our whole team’s creative except for the two business people that run the company.We run the company, but there’s two people that anchor the company that are inthe business world, the rest of us are creatives pretending to be business people.

But the creative team, we brought them together and sort of let them — they started theirown Discord page, they, “yes, and” the entire creative process. Jasmine was writing, shesubmitted three hooks, and we gave that to Critical Role. Critical Role the entire time has beenincredible partners. I mean, our big fear in this relationship was like, “What if Matt holds on to the lore? What if he like doesn’t allow us to play? What if they protect everything with fisticuffs?” But to their credit, they’ve been incredible partners.They’ve “yes, and,” us the entire time, we’ve done the exact same thing with our creative team, and so for us, I think my favorite part is working with these three incredible artists that justexpanded everything. I think they’re going to make the Critter world very happy.

Matthew Lillard on Quest’s End: Sandkheg’s Hide and Working with Critical Role (4)

You have such iconic and beloved characters.If you could make a whiskey experience for one of them, who would you pick?
That is a new question. It’s so funny, what would that be? I think I drink, at some point, during Wing Commander,but I don’t think anyone ever saw Wing Commander. I mean, look, the idea of doing something fun around Shaggy, I think that there’s such an incredible history and tapestrywith that iconic brand. To find a way to do something there would be fun and I think that people would sort of love it. I’venever even thought of it before, but I wonder if that’s an IP we could chase down, and hunt down andget. Well,I will say that we’re really excited — so I have been saying this, our whole thing about Find Familiar Spirits is that this is our sort of launch vertical, this RPG brand Quest’s End but this October, we’re launchinganother, sort of our second flagship.

Yes, you teased that last time. I’m very excited.
Yeah, it’ll be a tequila and we hope to get on sale in October, which will be super fun.So that’s really what I’m excited about, I’m excited about that. I mean, look, I think thatdoing other people’s IP is a little challenging because you have to bring something to that community and I think that’sdifficult, right? We’re never going to be the brand that just, like I said before, slaps on a label. So, I like the idea that we’re doing something that’s ours. I mean, that’s,to me, the most fun about all of this is building communities and building that IP for ourselves.

Sandkheg’s Hide will be sold direct-to-consumer only through the Quest’s End website, their distributor Seelbach’s, and on the exclusive site for SandkhegsHide.com.

Related

Matthew Lillard on Quest’s End: Sandkheg’s Hide and Working with Critical Role  (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Virgilio Hermann JD

Last Updated:

Views: 5616

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Virgilio Hermann JD

Birthday: 1997-12-21

Address: 6946 Schoen Cove, Sipesshire, MO 55944

Phone: +3763365785260

Job: Accounting Engineer

Hobby: Web surfing, Rafting, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Ghost hunting, Swimming, Amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Virgilio Hermann JD, I am a fine, gifted, beautiful, encouraging, kind, talented, zealous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.