The hot new buzzword for drinks marketing in 2022 is “NFT” and everyone wants a piece of the action. In the last two weeks alone Penfolds, Patrón and Hennessy have all launched NFTs with BlockBar, a leading non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace for luxury wine and spirits products.
Wondering what an NFT is? Here’s a brief explanation from by Wikipedia: “A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a digital ledger (blockchain). NFTs can be associated with easily-reproducible items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files as unique items (analogous to a certificate of authenticity), and use blockchain technology to give the NFT a public proof of ownership.”
In November 2021, Brandessence Market Research shared data that identified NFT transaction growth of 328% during the first half and third quarter of 2021.
And, as The Drum notes: “Things are moving fast in the metaverse. Depending on who you speak to, this futuristic virtual world is either the next big thing in marketing or an overhyped fad. No matter which camp you reside in, the fact is that marketers and brands are experimenting at a rapid clip.”
Late last year, Penfolds became the first wine to partner with BlockBar, selling a barrel of 2021 Magill Cellar 3 in under 12 seconds for $US130,000.
BlockBar is a platform that offers NFTs directly from luxury liquor brands. was started by The Falic Group, the owners of Duty Free Americas, the largest duty-free retailer in the Americas. It is also the founder of Paneco, the largest ecommerce liquor platform in both Israel and Singapore.
Last week, Penfolds launched its second collaboration with BlockBar.com, which included limited edition NFTs tied to 300 bottles of Penfolds Magill Cellar 3 Cabernet Shiraz from the 2018 vintage, priced at 0.15ETH/$US467 each.
Made only in exceptional vintages, Magill Cellar 3 wines are so rare they are not sold at bottle shops or even at Penfolds cellar doors. The BlockBar sale offered a limited and rare opportunity to purchase individual bottles from one of only 14 Magill Cellar 3 2018 barrels.
The NFT serves as a digital receipt that verifies the buyer’s ownership and authenticity of the wine bottles. Each bottle will be stored in limited edition gift boxes at BlockBar’s facility in Singapore, until the purchaser decides to redeem the bottle NFT by collecting the physical bottle. As part of the program, the first three buyers to purchase six bottles of Penfolds Magill Cellar 3 2018 were invited to attend a private virtual session with Penfolds Chief Winemaker, Peter Gago.
Penfolds Magill Cellar 3 2018 NFT release coincides with BlockBar’s newly launched ‘NFT gifting service’ – with NFTs able to be redeemed, resold, or gifted through the BlockBar.com platform.
Dov Falic, co-founder and CEO of BlockBar, said: “BlockBar is at the forefront of this digital gifting transformation with its new service available to anyone in the world and we are excited to partner with Penfolds for our inaugural gifting drop”
Kristy Keyte, Penfolds Chief Marketing Officer added: “Gifting continues to be one of Penfolds most important purchase occasions, whether it’s big milestone events or little out of the ordinary moments that matter – there’s always a Penfolds wine to mark the moment. We are thrilled to be working with BlockBar again in 2022 as they launch their new NFT gifting service. This is a groundbreaking innovation that will change the way consumers gift luxury wine.”
Patrón launches NFTs to unlock access to “one-of-a-kind” tequila
In October last year, Glenfiddich became the first luxury spirits brand to be available on BlockBar, launching a series of 15 limited edition liquor NFTs. Each NFT corresponded to a physical bottleof a 1973 46 year old Armagnac cask finish Single Malt Scotch Whisky (pictured main).
William Grant & Sons Chief Commercial Officer Doug Bagley said: “Glenfiddich continues to push boundaries in whisky innovation and this mindset transcends to those we partner with. BlockBar brings a heightened level of authenticity to our brand via its proprietary NFT platform and creates an elite club of distinguished collectors with whom we’re excited to build long-term relationships.”
A slew have spirits brands have followed. Patrón teamed up with BlockBar last week to launch its first-ever NFT, unlocking a bottle of the limited-edition Patrón Chairman’s Reserve.
It’s the first time this one-of-a-kind, exclusive blend has been released to the public, and purchase of the NFT provides ownership rights to the physical bottle of Chairman’s Reserve.
Only 150 individually numbered bottles of this exquisite tequila will be available exclusively on BlockBar.com, at 1.5 ETH a pop (approximately $US4500)
“We’re thrilled to be working with BlockBar as the first tequila brand on the platform and for Patrón Tequila’s first-ever foray into the NFT market with the launch of Patrón Chairman’s Reserve. As one of the few brands that still makes tequila by hand, it’s exciting to be able to bring our passion and dedication to perfection and craftsmanship into the digital realm to a new audience of NFT collectors,” shares Kathy Parker, President and Global Chief Marketing Officer for Patrón.
“We’re excited to be a part of this innovative milestone for both PATRÓN Tequila launching its first NFT, and BlockBar teaming up with Patrón – the number one ultra-premium tequila – as the first tequila brand on our platform,” added Dov Falic.
Hennessy’s first foray into NFT
Earlier this month BlockBar celebrated the record-breaking sale of two bottles of Hennessy·8.
Purchased by Angry Pitbull Club (APC) for 66.49 ETH ($226,450USD), Hennessy’s first-ever NFT collection consists of both digital and physical assets, which were sold as a dual drop of carafes 1/250 and 250/250 respectively.
The purchase also included a complimentary trip to the Hennessy estate in Cognac, France.
Hennessy 8 was crafted using one eau de vie from eight generations of master blenders. The brainchild of master blender Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, the expression was originally released in 2017 and limited to just 250 bottles.
They are housed in ornate chests designed by Arik Levy, comprising 25 layers of oak sourced from the Hennessy cooperage, each symbolizing 10 years of the Maison’s history. They are accompanied by a toolbox housing four tasting glasses designed by glassmaker Georg Riedel and Hennessy’s former master blender Yann Fillioux, as well as a pipette made of oak barrel wood and a cork holder.
The cryptographic version is being held securely by BlockBar.com, with a record of authenticity held on the blockchain as a digital certificate of ownership. APC is choosing to keep the physical product at BlockBar’s secure storage facility and not trade the NFT versions on the BlockBar.com marketplace.
“Because the Angry Pitbull Club owners are longtime fans of Hennessy, purchasing the first-ever Hennessy NFT simply made sense for the brand,” said NFTqueen, a founder of Angry Pitbull Club. “We bought into this project out of pure love and a desire to hold it as an asset to benefit the NFT community,”
Miller Lite to open metaverse-based bar during Super Bowl
AB InBev’s Miller Lite is preparing to open a virtual bar in Decentraland — a platform that offers real estate in the expanding virtual universe — where fans can view the beer company’s 2022 Super Bowl ad.
The ad will not be airing on the televised game itself.
Mediahub recently opened a virtual office in Decentraland, and last spring Atari built a casino there.
Crypto cocktails are also a thing
Last year, a restaurant in New York called Quality Eats announced it was auctioning an NFT cocktail called Into the Ether, featuring Angel’s Envy Rye.
The auction raised 0.75 ether, or about $1400 at the time, which was donated to the ROAR fund to support restaurant workers suffering economic hardship due to the pandemic.
The NFT rights included ownership of the exclusive blockchain-protected secret recipe to Into the Ether plus the ability to redeem one free mixed Into the Ether cocktail per visit to Quality Eats for the life of the restaurant.
According to Punch, bartenders could potentially use NFTs as a way to claim ownership of cocktail recipes in the future.
“This feat is notoriously difficult, because copyright law does not protect recipes, which are considered facts, as it does creative works like art or literature, while trademarks can protect only the name (the “mark”) of a drink against unauthorised use. Still, some bartenders view NFTs as a workaround to protect their intellectual property,” the website noted.
“Minting a drink is kind of like copyrighting it,” explained Saeed “Hawk” House, a Los Angeles–based bartender who also makes and sells cocktail NFTs, which include retro-stylised pixelated images and original drink recipes that can be unlocked once the NFT is purchased. “Minting it is a way of putting it out there and saying, I own it.”