He is probably best known as the keyboard and vocalist of Norway’s most famous exports – a-ha. But 52-year-old Magne Furuholmen, known to fans as Mags, has just launched a range of healthy, non-alcoholic products called S&M Feelgood Factory.
He got together with his friend Simen Staalnacke from fashion house Mood of Norway. The idea was that just before Christmas, when everyone else was over-indulging in festive activities, the two of them should embark on a period of sobriety for six months.
If you are wondering why they came up with this idea, it is because Magne often had times of abstinence, due to a heart condition that he was diagnosed with in around 2001.
Magne was prone to fainting and often felt his pulse racing for no reason, but after a particularly frightening episode, when he fainted whilst driving, he sought medical help. It was at this time he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation or AF.
This condition is when the heart beats at an irregular pulse and can cause fainting, dizzy spells, problems with breathing and chest pains. Left untreated, a sufferer can have a heart attack and even die.
Magne has since had surgery to ‘reboot’ his heart in an attempt to reconfigure the electrical impulses that fire it.
For health reasons however, he often embarks on periods of abstinence, and on this occasion, he and Simen went bar-hopping in search of non-alcoholic drinks to celebrate. They were sorely disappointed.
Magne says: “There was just not much exciting available to drink without pestering busy bartenders or sipping sugary juices all night.”
Instead of skulking off and sulking all night, the two decided to give bartending a whirl themselves, and came up with a ‘Non-Alcoholic Strong Drink’, that they thought tasted great. it was so delicious that they ended up giving it to their friends as Christmas gifts.
“Simen and I had a blast mixing all these natural ingredients in my kitchen like two happy amateurs,” Magne recalls. But the fun was just beginning.
“All of a sudden friends started asking for more. A friend of a friend was given our Holy Moly to drink and loved it, and he approached us about maybe making it available in some bars in Oslo,” Magne says.
Magne and Simen decided to launch the S&M Feelgood Factory, a company that dealt exclusively with providing grown-up non-acoholic drinks for adults.
And as from 27 April, there are a range of bottled drinks and snacks that are available in Deli Deluca and 7-11 stores all across Norway.
Products so far include the very first concoction the boys made – Holy Moly, which is an energy drink that consists of Norwegian apples, rhubarb, red currant, guarana, caffeine and chili.
There is also a version of iced tea which the boys called Iced Tee and contains cold brewed tea with elderflower and 40% less sugar. There is a cold brewed ice coffee called Chill-i-Coffee that has a hint of liquorice and chili.
And as for snacks, you can choose between Dos Amigos, mojito flavoured potato chips with mint and lime, or Retox, potato chips with carrot, ginger and coriander.
For more information about where these products will be stocked and any new product launches check out their Facebook page.