By: Christos Makridis
When many have their eyes turned to the salient collapse of FTX and other major web3 token projects, there are exciting and novel use-cases behind NFTs brewing in the spirits industry. NFTs are about authenticating ownership of not only digital assets, but also physical ones, including high-ticket fine wines and other beverages.
Recently, three examples have launched, providing NFT holders with the opportunity to not only showcase their digital beverage collection, but also obtain actual physical drinks and perks that drive greater consumer engagement and satisfaction.
Asbhurner’s Premium Gin
Ashburner’s Premium GIN – an Austrian beverage company – released a limited edition of 999 bottles in the new acerola flavor edition with a pre-sale for newsletter subscribers and existing customers that started on November 23rd and November 25th for others. In addition to the change in taste, new technical functions have been integrated: each gin bottle contains a digital NFT twin in the blockchain that not only enables the verification of the product, gives buyers the chance to interactively participate in company decisions and grow in an exclusive community. The physical integration between the NFT and gin was implemented by VariusSystems, a leading blockchain and information technology company also in Austria.
Built on the Polygon blockchain, the NFT provides not only security and provenance that the gin is legitimate and not a fraudulent knock-off, but also a range of benefits, including: discounts on products, participation in raffles, invitations to events, and, perhaps even more importantly, the chance to vote on new products. It is the first time that governance rights have been distributed through an NFT in the spirits industry, providing new opportunities for customer engagement.
“We always wanted to let our best customers have a say in our creations. We also wanted to reward them for their loyalty. With NFTs, we can do both — customers can have a voice in the creation of new flavors and receive exclusive entry to tastings,” said Wolfgang Aschenbrenner, founder of Ashburner’s Premium GIN.
The winter edition acerola is the first flavor of the planned non-fungible gin (NFGin) line, making a good gift for the holidays and many more are planned after the collection sells out and NFT holders can vote. The production of the gin is done sustainably in Vienna with local partners.
Johnnie Walker Blue
Following the successful release of the Ghost & Rare NFT, Johnnie Walker in partnership with BlockBar, Vayner3 and 88rising will release a new limited edition Johnnie Walker Blue Label on November 22nd on BlockBar.com featuring artwork by artist Vandy the Pink. “After the successful launch of the VeeFriends collaboration, and the launch of Johnnie Walker Ghost and Rare Master Set and NFT on BlockBar.com, we are excited by the momentum Johnnie Walker has created throughout the past year,” said Avery Akkineni, president of Vayner3.
NFT holders will have the opportunity to influence the final design, culminating in an experience during Art Basel where NFT holders will also gain access to an immersive whisky experience curated by Vayner3 at ‘V’ Scope Miami Beach. “Johnnie Walker Blue Label has become a recognized symbol of prestige and I am excited to imprint my artistic vision on one of the most iconic blended Scotch Whiskies in the world. Inspired by the complex harmony and depth of character, I wanted my artwork to be emblematic of the balance within the bottle while representing the communities Johnnie Walker and 88rising bring together,” said Junghoon Vandy Son, founder of VANDYTHEPINK.
The collaboration is also unique because of the innovative partners with proven track records it brings together. “It’s critical for brands to meet consumers where they are in culture, and with Web3, we saw an exciting opportunity to team up with like-minded cultural innovators and bold creators to bring value to communities forming in this emerging digital landscape. Gary Vaynerchuk is one of those spirited pioneers and while Web3 is still a bit of unchartered territory, we wanted to ensure we had a partner that was ready to take risks, learn, and adapt with us while having fun through the experiences we curtate for consumers,” said Sophie Kelly, senior vice president at DIAGEO North America.
These activations have been highly successful. “One of our first collaborations with Vayner3 was a unique Johnnie Walker Blue Label gifting experience with the Gift Goat token holders that we revealed during an event at VeeCon. The reactions we received on social media were overwhelmingly positive and well above average engagement for Johnnie Walker. Furthermore, for the firth release of Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare, we partnered with artist Ivona Tau to create an NFT that would accompany the bottle exclusively available on Blockbar.com. The release sold out in less than 13 seconds, so there’s definitely enthusiasm from the Web3 community who are excited to experience our rare and collectible spirits through this emerging digital landscape,” Kelly continued.
Soignér Fine Wines
In preparation for launch in February 2023, Soignér will be a members-only wine marketplace to trade, collect, and purchase fine wine. Every bottle in their ecosystem will be authenticated by a court of master sommeliers before issuing a tokenized proof of authenticity through an NFT, coupled with the receipt of the physical bottle of wine in real life. Soignér will allow wine lovers and collectors to not only obtain authenticated fine wines, but also showcase them in a digital cellar on the Soignér platform.
A new and younger generation of wine collectors are emerging. “The younger generation of wine lovers are passionate about wines grown locally and understanding the stories behind them,” said David Keck, a master sommelier.
Soignér anticipates launching in February 2023 on OpenSea, attracting a new genre of wine collectors who are deeply embedded in web3. The collaboration between Soignér and OpenSea also highlights an exciting use case for royalties and remuneration of those involved in the wine production.
These are just a few examples of the surge in utility NFTs that offer buyers not just a physical product that they would otherwise buy through standard marketplaces, but also an added digital asset authenticated on the blockchain.