Fistful of Bourbon Saddles Up With an Amusing Spoof of Westerns

Quaker City Mercantile and Tool craft some comic high-noon hijinks

Why do gunfights in Westerns always take place at high noon? Sunset's a much better time for such deadly duels, when the glare isn't so strong.

A pair of cantankerous cowpokes share that epiphany in this not-so-rootin'-tootin' sendup of the saddle-tramp genre that promotes William Grant & Sons' Fistful of Bourbon:

Fistful of Bourbon Trailer (Full)

A "fistful of bourbon" stands five fingers high in shot-glass parlance. This particular brand blends five American whiskies, and its name recalls Sergio Leone's classic 1964 Western A Fistful of Dollars. So ... now you know.

Quaker City Mercantile developed the campaign, and Tool of North America handled production chores. Director Paul Briganti, best known for his vignettes on Saturday Night Live, ably channels the frontier funny, while actors Frank Garcia-Hejl (from Upright Citizens Brigade) and George Basil (a regular on HBO's Crashing) deliver ace comic turns.

Ultimately, Basil steals the show in silk pajamas, looking more like the bass player in a '70s glam band than a vicious gunslinger—which is the whole point, of course. His ludicrously intense line deliveries hit home like hot lead. Dude bites off syllables like he's chomping beef jerky, riotously overemphasizing silly stuff such as "I shimmer as hard as I can but it's the pajamas that does the job," and "Puttin' these on is like laying on a hotel bed made of crème brûlée."

"We take our whiskey very seriously, but our brand irreverently, and we wanted to give consumers an experience that was unique—something fun, witty, and in some instances laugh out loud," Emily Ivers, director of innovation and growth brands at William Grant, tells Muse.

Ivers describes film, shot last November at the rugged Whitehorse Movie Ranch in Landers, Calif., as "a toast to nostalgia, but with a modern take. Today, Spaghetti Western-esque movies are being made but with a few twists—from Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight to Seth McFarlane's comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West."

Fistful of Bourbon targets millennials and Gen-Xers weaned on such fare, along with fans of City Slickers, Tombstone, 3:10 to Yuma and the Wild Wild West. "The Western genre continues to play a role in pop culture as filmmakers today put their own mark on it, showing that it really does stand the test of time," Ivers says.

Adds Briganti: "Working with Fistful of Bourbon was so fun, it felt like making movies with friends. They have great taste in comedy, weren't afraid to let me take creative risks, and they also make great bourbon, which has come in handy in 2020."

Pardners, you can check out shorter clips from the campaign below—Yeehaw!


Live Action - Tool Production Credits
Tool Line Producer: Kelly Christensen
Managing Director Live Action / EP Nancy Hacohen
Tool Executive Producer: Rob Sexton
Head of Production: Amy DeLossa & Ian Falvey
Director: Paul Briganti
DP: Wyatt Troll
Production Designer: Dave Corey

Agency: Quaker City Mercantile
Creative Director: Jerry Stifelman
Creative Director: Ron Pushkar

Post, Audio, VFX
Executive Producer Amburr Farls
Editor Sean Stender
Editorial Company: Cut & Run
Visual Effects Company (with location): Jogger
Audio Post Company (with location): Lime Studios / Santa Monica
Audio Post Engineer or Mixer: Tom Paolantonio

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