Comedy duo’s dram en route to the trade

Still Game co-creators talk ‘Jack and Victor’ ahead of the on-trade launch of their whisky

STILL Game creators and stars, Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, are introducing their Jack and Victor blended Scotch whisky to the on-trade this month through wholesaler Inverarity Morton.

The duo teamed with drinks industry veterans Duncan and Lauren Frew to create the 40% ABV whisky, which launched in the off-trade last year.

A gin will follow in April, and Kiernan and Hemphill have indicated there will be further launches later in the year.

Ahead of the on-trade launch, SLTN sat down with the comedy duo to find out more about the whisky.

Where did the idea for a whisky come from?

Ford: “A lot of years ago now we made an episode of Still Game which was to do with us visiting a distillery.

“We loved the episode and of course we were filming it in a distillery and just started talking about wouldn’t it be nice to do a whisky. But there was so much going on at the time that we only kinda half looked at it.

“It wasn’t until we had some free time to seriously consider actually doing something about it to see if it was going to be viable.”

Greg: “I think about a third of the show takes place in The Clansman, as well. It’s kind of always been part of the culture of the show.”

You worked with Loch Lomond Group on the liquid. Why Loch Lomond Group?

Ford: “I think we were all interested right away in using someone that was Glasgow or thereabouts and they (LLG) seemed to be the right people for us.

“They’re very nice, also, which is another bonus in any game.”

Why did you settle on this particular liquid?

Ford: “It’s something that’s sippable. It’s not harsh. You can sit and watch the telly and drink it on its own. So it had to be smooth enough to do that, but also to be a great mixer drink.”

Greg: “I think we also wanted a whisky that felt like it was from Glasgow. And that felt like it was.”

What was the response when you launched Jack and Victor last year?

Ford: “As soon as the whisky got delivered we were getting feedback from people who would taste it and give us a crit right there and say ‘that’s great. It’s beautiful for sipping’.

“We got feedback like that immediately, which is nice.

“It makes a change from getting tweets saying ‘this is what I’m having for dinner’. A plate of haggis. Now we’re getting photographs of people cheering us and having a half in different locations.

“Our customer base seem to like part-ownership. Being involved in it. And they don’t want to miss the thing. Because they’ve invested so much time watching the [show], and watching it over and over again.”

Greg: “And they know it better than we do. We had a pub quiz and we came 16th out of 20 teams. The entire cast came 16th out of 20 teams. And we were trying as well!

“At the beginning of that quiz, we said ‘let’s throw a couple of questions so that we don’t win this’. Within ten minutes we were fighting for our lives!”

What kind of venue do you see Jack and Victor being suited to?

Greg: “A place with a sense of humour.”

Ford: “Aye, and with a bit of a vibe about it. Pubs you can gab in.

“There’s not a particular look of pub, but the pub that you would normally go to and you would stand in the corner with your buddies. And that’s what pubs are all about.

“The way we’ve written the TV programme, the pub is the hub where everybody irons out everything that they’re doing and there’s always a good laugh there.”

Who do you see ordering Jack and Victor in the pub?

“The gag would be there would be four or five guys in the pub.

“They all go in and go ‘right, we’re having a whisky’. And the oldest guy out of the group, the guy that’s 40, the other guys are in their 30s, they say ‘he’ll have a Jack and Victor, because he’s an old guy.’”

Greg: “Old Pete, who’s 40.”

Ford: “Old Pete, who’s 40, will have a Jack and Victor. And then the punchline would be they go ‘ah we’re all old bastards, we’ll all have one’.

“The spirit of the thing is to be lighthearted with the approach and why you’re drinking it in the first place, because you like the association.”

How would Jack and Victor describe Jack and Victor?

Greg: “Two gold watches.”

Ford: “Aye, two goldies. It’s never the wrong time to have a couple of goldies.

“A couple of goldies sort out the world’s problems. Before you do any of the talking, ‘a couple of goldies please’. It’s the opener for communication, fun and laughing and all that.”

Greg: “Jack and Victor were two characters that were based on family members of ours.

“When I used to go and visit my grandad on a Sunday, the first thing he did was to give you a goldy. A massive goldy.”

Ford: “Yeah the show was based on my uncle Barney and Greg’s grandfather, Sammy.

“We just started talking about that and it became the show.

“Those two people never leave our minds. That’s why there’s nothing rash about what we’re doing, because we’re thinking: what would Barney and Sammy make of that?”

The whisky will be followed next month by a new gin. Why did you decide to add a gin to the range?

“It’s simply that people like gin and it just seemed like a natural progression for us to look at that as well as part of a line of things.

“Obviously there are other products that we want to look at, but not in a half-hearted way. A lot of thought goes in before we make the next move, because we realised within about ten minutes that this wasn’t just a novelty.”

Will there be other products?

Ford: “You need to look at everything on merit and work out exactly what your basic intention was in the first place.

“The intention wasn’t just to join in with everything else that seems to be going on in the world.

“Let’s put a little more thought into it and make sure it tasted right.

“It’s not just trying to capitalise on the novelty.”

Greg: “Jack and Victor have never done a lot of advertising. We get asked every other day and we just won’t do it.

“There’s a lot of thought that goes into these products.

“We won’t commit those characters to just anything.”