It’s been less than a year since Wolfie’s blended whisky launched off the back of Rod Stewart’s 2023 summer tour and brand co-founder Duncan Frew is already laying foundations to expand beyond the considerable musical realm of its iconic rock patron.

“Our plan is to be a bit like Nike, with Rod as our Michael Jordan,” Mr Frew said.

“He’s our star musician, and we’re now working with Warner Music, MTV, and Abbey Road. Our plan is to be the true rock ‘n’ roll Scottish whisky, and we want to have local bands or artists in Asia and America.”

Distilled and distributed by Loch Lomond Group, Wolfie’s is currently ahead of target to sell 200,000 bottles in its first full year of trading and is available in 23 global markets, nearly triple the initial goal of eight. The whisky has featured in cocktails at prestigious venues such as The Ritz London, Caesars Palace Las Vegas, and NOBU Tokyo.

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Mr Frew has worked in the drinks industry for more than 20 years, having started up a mobile cocktail bar hire service at the age of 19 while studying marketing and business law at the University of Strathclyde. That operation grew into Badaboom, a drinks marketing agency that was acquired by C&C Group in 2017.

As part of the deal, Mr Frew was appointed to the post of commercial marketing director at C&C. He says he learned a great deal during his time there but was ready to move on after the three-year earn-out on the Badaboom acquisition expired.

“It was a culture change for me,” he said. “I learned about big business and working within a PLC and presenting to boards and all that stuff, which was very different from my marketing company.

“I learned absolute bucketloads but for me, I’m not suited to work for somebody else. I enjoyed the experience but – and it wasn’t C&C, it could have been any company – being an employee of a business wasn’t really for me. I’d rather be the boss.”

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He helped to create the Jack and Victor blended whisky – also made by Loch Lomond – after a chance meeting with Still Game actor Greg Hemphill in 2020. Mr Frew is still involved with that, and hints there is fresh Jack and Victor material on the horizon that should further boost the brand.

Around the time Jack and Victor whisky launched in 2021, a mutual friend introduced Mr Frew to Rod Stewart. After bonding over a shared love of Celtic football they spent an evening at Mr Frew’s pub, the Dirty Duchess in Glasgow’s west end, where they worked their way through the whisky menu.

“We got severely drunk one night, I’m afraid, and Rod was telling me about The Faces and those halcyon days of rock ‘n’ roll in the mid-70s, and how much fun he had,” said Mr Frew, and from there the idea for Wolfie’s was born.

“I remember saying to Rod, I wanted it to embody him and other rock stars in that era, and the thing with Rod is he’s a bit of a rascal - he’s a gentleman rascal.

“It’s funny, but if a lady at dinner is coming back from the bathroom he will immediately stand up – he’s got impeccable manners. But at the same time he’ll happily unscrew the top of the saltshaker before he gives it to me.”

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Wolfie’s was launched after 18 months of preparation and within 72 hours Loch Lomond had been “inundated” with requests from distributors around the world, Mr Frew said.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” he added. “Volume is very important for us, of course it is, but to be honest what is more important for this year is building the right relationships and making sure the pricing is right and making sure people are actually enjoying the brand, and that we are promoting it the right way.”

The plan is to begin working with other artists via partnerships or sponsorships from next year.

“We do not want to create a novelty brand, we want to create a lasting brand,” Mr Frew said.

“As Rod said in a few interviews last year, the ambition is that people are still drinking this brand and listening to his music when he is gone. That’s the plan – it’s not smash and grab.”