Glenn Howerton wasted no time in telling me exactly how excited he was on a recent phone call. “I’m so fucking excited, I’m losing my mind” were his exact words. “We’ve been talking about this for so long and I’m excited to finally get it out there into the world.” But the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star, writer, and executive producer wasn’t talking about the show’s fifteenth season, making it the longest running live action TV sitcom. Nor was it the project he was recently working on in Canada requiring him to be bald, or even the success of the wildly popular podcast he hosts with fellow Sunny stars and co-creators Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day. No, Howerton was gushing about the new Irish whiskey brand that the gang was about to launch called Four Walls.
“I have been obsessed with the idea for quite some time, I just didn’t know what form it was gonna take,” he explains. The project came about over the course of the pandemic. “Whiskey was always something I had in the back of my mind simply because, first and foremost, I’m a massive whiskey fan. I’ve been appreciating finer whiskeys for as many years as I could afford it.” Initially, they toyed with the idea of releasing a beer, something that would be in line with the spirit of the show’s fictional Paddy’s Pub where the characters spend most of their time coming up with harebrained schemes, getting trashed, and generally being awful to each other. “But the more we talked about it, the more we realized that at this stage in our lives we’re just big whiskey fans,” he says. “Finding the right partners to do this was the most challenging thing, but once we had that we were full steam ahead.”
Four Walls, named as a tribute to the four walls of Paddy’s, as well as any other IRL bar where many of us spend so much of our time, is both a chance to bring some high-quality whiskey to Sunny fans and give back to the bar community that’s suffered so much throughout the pandemic. All proceeds from the whiskey will go to Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association’s HARP (Hospitality Assistance Response of Pennsylvania). Two whiskeys are being released this month. The first is a limited-edition 15-year-old, single-cask Irish single malt priced at a steep $999 (but remember, it’s for charity). Only 755 bottles are available, each housed in an engraved box with cast member signatures on the packaging. The second release will be more attainable at $89, a blend of Irish grain and malt with Pennsylvania rye that was created for use in cocktails.
These are probably not whiskeys you’d find at Paddy’s, the dingy scene of such crimes as the gang openly encouraging underaged drinking, staging a funeral for a fake baby, and torturing a little person Charlie believed was a leprechaun. No, Paddy’s seems like more of a Jameson, Bushmills, and Powers kind of joint. Those whiskeys are just fine, but for Howerton Four Walls is meant to be something more special. “I’d like to think that my relationship with whiskey is a little bit healthier than my character’s,” he laughs. “Look, I’m not gonna lie, I started drinking in high school like a lot of people. But whiskey at that point was the kind of thing you mix into a Coke and get it in you as quickly as possible to get drunk.” It wasn’t until he was in his early twenties that he had a chance to try something a bit more refined. “Somebody was nice enough to buy me (‘cause I couldn’t afford it at the time) a really nice scotch and I started to appreciate the flavor.”
It seems more than likely you’ll hear about Four Walls on an upcoming episode of “The Always Sunny Podcast,” a conversation free-for-all during which the guys, along with producer and Sunny writer Megan Ganz, occasionally get around to actually talking about an episode of the show. Howerton says the intention is to cover all 15 seasons, as well as the upcoming 16th, but diversions are more than welcome. “Eventually we’ll branch the podcast out to cover different subjects and do different things,” he says. “The truth is, we’re having so much fun with it, we’re trying to figure out different ways to expand on the format and not have it just be about…well, if you listen you know that the episodes are about episodes of the show, but we often don’t spend much time talking about that.”
But back to just how fucking excited Howerton is feeling, which is also due in no small part to getting the chance to support the pubs, saloons, watering holes, and taverns that he has frequented over the years. “Some of my best memories are fun nights in bars,” he says. “So it was an opportunity for us to give back to that place that we think is a vital part of the community.” And that, he says, is the main idea behind Four Walls—a chance to drink some delicious Irish whiskey and celebrate the bar community. “You add in that extra layer of doing Sunny for as long as we have and how much of that show is about the bar… it’s the thing that keeps us together and holds us together.