One of the most common questions we’re asked is, “Why does the list of cocktails from your Fellowship Quest not feature the names of the nine members of JRR Tolkein’s Fellowship of the Ring?” (for the uninitiated, these members are Frodo, Samwise, Gandalf, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas and Boromir).
When The Hobbit Pub first introduced Tolkein-themed cocktails in 2002, there were five cocktails on offer, each bearing the name of a popular Tolkein character: Gandalf, Frodo, Gollum, Bilbo and Legolas (the five characters featured on our logo). These drinks quickly became known colloquially amongst the locals as “the Fellowship” but were never marketed by the pub as such – after all, Gollum and Bilbo were never members of The Fellowship of the Ring – and “completing the Fellowship” (ie. drinking one of each of the five) soon became a common aim.
As the cocktails grew in popularity, so too did the demand for newer Tolkein-themed drinks. Over the years the cocktail list expanded, and in 2009 we also introduced a range of shooters that included (amongst others) the long-overlooked Fellowship members Samwise, Merry and Pippin. By this time the cocktails list had grown to ten, having accumulated Gimli, Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir and Elrond at various points along the way. Drinking one of each cocktail was still known amongst the locals as “completing the Fellowship” but since our range of Tolkein-themed drinks now consisted of ten pint-cocktails and six shooters we could not in good conscience (or the bounds of the law) recommend that anyone attempt it in a single night.
Hence the introduction soon after of The Hobbit Pub’s Fellowship Quest: a stamp-card that allowed customers to “tick off” the cocktails they’d bought, in exchange for a commemorative T-shirt upon completion. This was the first time we’d ever used the word “fellowship” in any of our marketing, and calling it “The Fellowship Quest” was a no-brainer: the cocktail range had always been known as The Fellowship to our customers, if not to us, and “Quest” implied something that would take time and endurance (as opposed to “Challenge” which makes it sound like we were daring you to do it as fast as possible). Originally, all the shooters were included in The Fellowship Quest, which meant that at point all original nine members had their names on our Fellowship list. As the cocktail list expanded further the shooters were dropped from the Fellowship Quest, which sadly meant that Samwise, Merry and Pippin had to lose their places. The only alternative would be to rename the entire drink range, which would obviously be confusing and alienating for the customers who had already established their favourites over the years.
So we admit, we played fast and loose with the cocktail names, but really it was the only sensible option. Most of the important characters from Lord of the Rings have a drink named after them at The Hobbit Pub in some form or another, just not necessarily a Fellowship Quest cocktail. Our Fellowship is something different to the one you may be familiar with, but really, who would be so cold as to kick poor Gollum and Bilbo out of OUR Fellowship after over a decade of loyal service, just for the sake of accuracy?
Not us, that’s for sure.