Bristol distillery to use blockchain to sell spirits

20 August 2018

Bitcoin for booze is here… Circumstance Distillery, which opened in Bristol last week, is not only the first whisky and rum distillery in the city since World War II, but also claims to be the first distillery to use blockchain.

From the team behind Bristol microdistillery Psychopomp, Circumstance will be focusing on grain- and cane-based spirits, with the intention of creating New World-takes on these using its new hybrid still. For a limited time, cryptocurrency tokens will be available for purchase, which can each be redeemed at a later date for a bottle of Circumstance spirit, regardless of its age or value. Like any cryptocurrency, the tokens can be traded and sold via blockchain technology. Unlike other cryptocoins, these will offer early access to many of the distillery’s future releases, the first of which is expected to be ready in three months.

Circumstance has taken up residence in a warehouse space in the Bristol’s Whitehall area. The last whisky and rum distillery to operate in the city was the Bristol Distilling Co, which was destroyed during the Blitz.

‘We want to meet history with innovation,’ explained co-founder Danny Walker. ‘We started with a blank canvas and are exploring many different grains, yeasts, mixed fermentation and traditional and modern ageing techniques.’

The token sale starts on 6 September, with the first 1,000 tokens going for £30, with a further 1,000 going for £35, and a final 1,000 for £40 each. Once the distillery’s first spirit is released, however, token sales will cease.

This might be the first use of blockchain for spirits pre-sales, but the technology isn’t entirely new to the whisky industry. In late 2017, Ardnamurchan in Scotland put details of a limited-edition release on a blockchain platform to ensure authenticity of its bottles. Earlier this year saw the launch of CaskCoin, a way to invest in scotch whisky using blockchain technology.

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