Published on October 13th, 2021 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
An In-Person Look At Yebiga, The Acclaimed Rakija Brand Founded By Faith No More’s Bill Gould
As a co-founder of legendary band Faith No More, Bill Gould first found international success when the 1987 single “We Care A Lot” took off. Faith No More would go on to mainstream success just a few years later when 1989’s The Real Thing took off and the group became an MTV staple. The band would eventually go on hiatus in 1998, remaining broken up until 2009. However, Bill Gould never slowed down, even during Faith No More’s years off, not only playing with other artists (including Fear Factory and The Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra), starting the Koolarrow Records label (which specializes in releases by overlooked international artists), and founding the acclaimed spirit known as Yebiga.
Yebiga is Gould’s own label of rakija. For those unfamiliar with rakija, it is a South Eastern Europe spirit which dates back to the Ottoman Empire and the 11th Century. Yebiga is made in cooperation with one of Serbia’s premier families of distillation, using 100 percent natural ingredients. Produced from various regional fruits, Yebiga’s “PRVA” is considered to be a textbook slivovica. It carries a respectable proof of 86 and is matured for a minimum of 18 months in local Serbian “Quercus petraea“ oak barrels. Notably, Marina Abramovic featured Yebiga for her reception in Belgrade, ordering and featuring 45 bottles to represent the 45 years since she had last performed in her homeland.
BELA is the latest release under the Yebiga label. It is lighter than PRVA, free of color and finished in stainless steel. With BELA, Yebiga returns to the everyday roots of Rakija. It is a delicious, rustic drink for everyday occasions, paying homage to the most common way one might find rakija across Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bulgaria. Made to the same impeccable standards as PRVA, BELA also brings a new bottle design in a 750ml bottle, as opposed to PRVA only coming in 1-liter bottles.
In May 2021, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Gould again, as largely focused on Yebiga’s past, present and future for the majority of the interview. Last night on October 12, 2021, I had the pleasure of attending an official event for Yebiga at New York City restaurant Kafana, where Gould explained the inspiration behind Yebiga, which is now available all over New York State. Video of both the May 2021 interview with Gould and the October 2021 in-person event at Kafana are embedded below.