Beer & Blockchain: What’s Not To Love?

Beer & Blockchain: What’s Not To Love?

A Cryptocurrency That Nourishes The Local Community Whilst Enjoying a Pint

When Florian Krueger met the founder of German Kraft Beer Brewery (GKBB), Florian Bollen, and heard that he wanted to create a cryptocurrency for his beer, he was like:

“Really?! Why?”

Then Krueger, a highly experienced data scientist and tech expert, discovered the integrity of the business model:

  • The economic prudence of placing beer — a commodity that never experiences (negative) fluctuations in value — at the heart of the coin-offering
  • The patent technology that produces some of the cleanest water in the world, and, in turn, some real craft beer
  • The ambition to reimagine community hubs by blockchain-powered voting rights, co-ownership and profit share

The flagship site at Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant & Castle (South London), recently turned one year old. It’s a delicious smorgasbord of artisan food stalls and craft culture. It’s been so popular that new sites are already being planned in as diverse locations as Mayfair and Ilford.

This may well be the first time that blockchain and cryptocurrency are being successfully applied to real-world transactions and being bought by the masses, for mass, regular consumption.

Silicon Roundabout caught up with Kruger to find out more about the Craft Beer Coin (CBC) revolution.

The Coin Offering

As Malta continues to lead the way in progressive crypto regulation, CBC was incorporated there in January 2019, releasing 1.2 million tokens at £5 each. Each CBC purchased is “asset-backed” by a tangible product; or, more specifically, underwritten by a pint of craft beer (or gin and tonic).

“We’re not stressed about selling them,” says Krueger.
“We’re not giving discounts or airdropping them. When they’re sold, we’ll use the £6 million to finance four new breweries.”

It’s a staggering business model because £5 for a pint of high-quality craft beer in central London actually very reasonable.

Moreover, buying a CBC grants voting rights on things like which breweries will be funded next, or which special beers will be brewed, not to mention co-ownership and profit share in the future.

How, then, are they doing for sales?

“Very well,” smiles Kruger, “very well, indeed.”

Without wanting to reveal figures, they can say they have had to double the brewing capacity six months into operation, and they are now selling approximately five times what they projected in the original business plan.

GKBB’s patented water distillation system.

Turning Water Into Beer

The origins of this enormous project lie in a water charity, Aquiva Foundation; also ran by the Bollen family.

They tackle the clean drinking water crisis in the developing world by patenting an innovative water purification system. Ex-filmmaker Florian Bollen has since scaled the system to power their very own craft beer breweries.

Kruger explains the innovation of their distillation for the non-technical.

“In London tap water we find microplastic, hormones, cocaine residual… We take this water and completely clean it. Then we remineralise to whatever content we like. We replicate the Erlangen Water from Bavaria and make that into great beer..”
“It sounds bullish”, finishes Krueger, “but it’s the cleanest water on the planet and it is the perfect basis for the beer, which is effectively 95% water!”

Community Hub

The spirit of the business model is very much committed to developing close-knit community hubs. And as they do not believe in bottling or transporting, the beer they serve has to be brewed on-site, which allows for it to be unfiltered and unpasteurized.

To serve at another venue, therefore, they have to pop up with the water distillation system and start from scratch to re-create the same level of quality.

The next stop is an old church on North Audley Street in Mayfair. According to Krueger, they won the contract because the local estate managers recognise the cohesive community message implicit in the model which has been created through the partnership between the Mercato Metropolitano, German Kraft and the CraftCoinCompany.

German Kraft Beer Brewery at Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant and Castle, London.
“Go out into the food court and it is common to see a really mixed crowd: families… couples… people out to party,” says Krueger.

The inference is that this is a safe, progressive space.

And the stats back it up. In one year of operation, the Mercato Metropolitano has not had one criminal incident.

Furthermore, social responsibility is evident throughout the whole business model. The dynamic space provides an urban garden so anyone can learn to grow food, alongside affordable workspace for the buzzing entrepreneurial community.

The third site is being planned for Iflord, on the outskirts East London. Ilford may only be 10 miles away from the Mayfair, but the two places are worlds apart, economically. That said, they are both committed to the task of better social integration.

Like any number of high streets in the country, Ilford that has been literally crippled by the rise of e-commerce. Today, it’s a degenerated strip of Poundlands and fried chicken shops.

“The Ilford city council approached us and said, ‘you did something really cool in Elephant & Castle, can you do something like that here?’”

The imminent plan is to reclaim an old car park close to the train station and build Mercato Metropolitano in Ilford.

Techtopia

The longer-term objective is to regenerate communities that need reimagining following the digital-boom.

That’s why this might be one of the most innovative movements happening, not just in London, but globally.

The ownership rights implicit in the CBC offering is a great leap forward from traditional capitalism. The theory is: if the consumers of a service own part of the business, won’t the business operate more ethnically, with a more organic, community focus?

Sounds like some crazy, Germany techtopia?

Well, it’s certainly a captivating example of blockchain being applied to something tangible, and being completely groundbreaking as a result.

Find out more here.


Craig is a freelance writer for Silicon Roundabout, the biggest tech community in London.