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I’m not going to lie: There was a time when displaying the bottle of a hard-to-procure craft beer was the ultimate display of my ardor. However, as my above-the-cabinet space shrank and those bottles got dusty (and, frankly, easier to find), I satisfied myself by posting pictures at beer fests or simply enjoying that hard-to-find beer with friends without documentation. But as technology advances, there are new and unique ways to interact with—and exhibit—your passions. Enter the non-fungible token (NFT).
An NFT is a piece of data stored and authenticated in a blockchain that can be sold or traded. It’s often an image, video, or audio file and may have an additional, associated value. Because NFTs are uniquely identifiable, they differ from cryptocurrencies, which are fungible, or able to be replaced by another identical item (think of replacing one dollar bill with another); the market value of an NFT is associated with the digital file it references.
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NFTs have been around for about a decade; they were first introduced as “Colored Coins” to represent real-world assets on Bitcoin. But the first known NFT—a short video clip—was minted in May 2014; since then, NFTs have gained in popularity and have gathered more traction as collectible and tradeable items—especially in the last two years. In 2020, the total trading of NFTs was $82 million; in 2021, trading increased to more than $17 billion.
Now, three Denver-area craft beer companies—Resolute Brewing Company, Denver Beer Company and Great Divide Brewing Company—have collaborated for a timely entry into the NFT game, offering up a unique NFT tied to a real-life benefit. The NFT launch includes 18 total NFTs available for purchase, with six offered by each participating brewery. Every NFT is unique and features a retro, video game-inspired piece of art that also functions as a ticket to an all-inclusive bus tour of the three breweries on July 30.
This is not new territory for Denver Beer Co.: In June 2021, the company released an NFT entitled “Beer For Life,” which grants the holder four free beers each day at any of their taprooms indefinitely. However, this is the first time several Colorado breweries have collaborated on an NFT offering.
“The idea of NFTs obviously has kind of taken off…maybe with a little bit too much hype in recent months,” says Clifton Oertli, owner of Resolute Brewing Company. “But it was really cool to start seeing some real-life applications of what NFTs could be and not just a JPEG sitting on some computer. That got us thinking as to how we could apply it in our business.”
Oertli said that he’s always been enamored with new use cases; creating the NFT seemed like a great way to get people into the NFT space. But the impetus came from contacts at Arryved, the point-of-sale system that the breweries utilize, who brought the idea to the table. The project blossomed from there.
“We all got together and thought about how we could make an NFT that, in a traditional sense, is sort of a kick-ass piece of digital art that would be attractive to people who are more immersed in the NFT world, but also attract people that might be more attuned to the craft beer world,” says Matt Sandy, marketing manager at Great Divide Brewing Company. “So we created some badass art, and then we attached an in-real-life experience with it that we thought could bridge the gap between people that were super knowledgeable about NFTs and people that were super knowledgeable about craft beer and bring them together with an item that appeals to both groups.”
The real-life benefits for the NFT occurs on July 30: The brewery tour will kick off at 11 a.m. at Denver Beer Co.’s Canworks location. A party bus for all ticket holders (the NFT purchase includes two tickets: one for the NFT holder and one for a guest) will provide transportation to Great Divide’s Ballpark location and Resolute Brewing in Centennial. During the tour, NFT owners and their guests will receive beer, lunch, transportation, and an exclusive networking opportunity at each brewery.
“Our main, core business is obviously not selling NFTs,” said Charlie Berger, co-founder of Denver Beer Co. “Our main, core business is having people come for great experiences in our taprooms and selling six-packs and 12-packs in the local retailers. This NFT thing fits because it’s fun, because it’s different…It’s a fun way to give our customers something interesting.”
The limited-edition NFTs are available for $250; each brewery has six unique NFTs on sale. Visit gethamlet.com/#section-marketplace to learn more.