William Grant & Sons’premium whisky brand, Ailsa Bay, has launched the world’s first-ever blockchain whisky in partnership with specialist blockchain technology company arc-net.
Ailsa Bay aims to transform whisky through experimentation, technology, precision distilling and data driven methods. Its whisky is unique as it undergoes a micro-maturation process in small Hudson whiskey casks. Ailsa Bay’s use of blockchain captures the full distilling and manufacturing process, allowing customers to track their whisky from source to store; ensuring authenticity and traceability.
Blockchain is a list of registers, or ‘blocks’ which contain information about the previous block and transaction data between them. It acts as an ‘open’ ledger, and this ledger is managed publicly rather than controlled by one party, meaning stored information can’t be changed or tampered, to track authenticity.
For Ailsa Bay, blockchain data is collected from parent company William Grant & Sons’ existing data sources, including cask types, filling dates and bottling dates are all tracked.
Consumers can trace the origins of their whisky via an innovative web experience, which is individually tailored to each bottle. By scanning a QR code, users are presented with a visual history of their whisky, produced using digitally created art generated by blockchain data unique to the drink’s journey.
Blockchain technology also allows Ailsa Bay to gather data from existing and potential customers, using mobile location services to correlate where the whisky is being purchased and consumed to maintain brand protection.
James Macrae, Brand Ambassador or Ailsa Bay, says, “Innovation is a key part of the William Grant & Sons business. We’re constantly looking to evolve our offering and learn new things in order to push the boundaries within the drinks industry. We’re doing something now that we hope will set the bar for the future experience of spirits, and we look forward to seeing how other brands follow suit as innovation within the industry continues to develop in the next few years.”
The concept of using blockchain for whisky emerged from William Grant & Sons’ inaugural ‘Hackadram’ event last year, in which startups and innovation specialists were invited to use their expertise to shape the future of the company’s spirits.
The adoption of blockchain is the latest innovation for Ailsa Bay. It joins other innovative processes, including ‘micro-maturation’, where the spirit is added in small bourbon casks for six to nine months for rapid and intense maturation, and unique taste measuring labelling, displaying both the PPM (Phenol Parts per Million) and SPPM (Sweet Parts Per Million); bringing a new way of thinking to a traditional drink.