Alcohol brands assemble: Welcome to the Metaverse!

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“The metaverse is here, and it’s not only transforming how we see the world but how we participate in it – from the factory floor to the meeting room.” - Satya Nadella, Chief Executive at Microsoft


Metaverse is the latest buzzword in town. Everyone is busy speculating about this alternate reality that one can craft and bend to their will. While this space brings a new definition to a virtual world, can one imagine any world — virtual or real— without a glass of wine or whiskey to relish? It is time to take your brands into the Metaverse!

Microsoft’s chief executive Satya Nadella explains: “The metaverse is here, and it’s not only transforming how we see the world but how we participate in it – from the factory floor to the meeting room.” He sees the metaverse as creating a new physical world that will “embed computing in the real world and embed the real world into computing”.

For the uninitiated, what is this Metaverse? As Jean Folger of Investopedia defines it: The metaverse is a digital reality that combines aspects of social media, online gaming, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and cryptocurrencies to allow users to interact virtually. Augmented reality overlays visual elements, sound, and other sensory input onto real-world settings to enhance the user experience. In contrast, virtual reality is entirely virtual and enhances fictional realities.


AR Labels and VR experiences are not new to the wine and spirits industry. Many brands have been excelling at telling engaging stories using AR Labels. Virtual tours of wineries were soaring through the pandemic. Paso Robles-based Rabble Wine Company has created unique AR experiences through their app that help to tell the story of the brand and engage customers in new ways. If you pick up a bottle of the red blend, you get a story of a comet hitting the city of Florence; if you pick up a bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon, you get a story of Mount Vesuvius erupting in the city of Pompeii.

Treasury Wine Estates’ The Walking Dead wines also gained popularity because they turned each wine bottle into a unique story about zombie hunter Rick Grimes and the various zombies he must confront. When you point your smartphone at a bottle, an entertainment experience comes to life. When you place two of the bottles from the collection side-by-side, the two bottles interact with each other. This makes the consumer want to buy more bottles of these wines to experience the complete story.

Treasury Wine Estates AR experience

Treasury Wine Estates AR experience Source: TWE Website

Imagine having a tour guide in the virtual realm, taking the guests through virtually tangible tours that go a step beyond just passively viewing a winery or distillery but actually interacting with various elements to experience the spirit of the spirit makers. You don’t have to just imagine this anymore. The Metaverse will help you bring this to life.

Kinahan’s Irish Whiskey has launched the industry’s first digital brand ambassadors in 3D virtual reality via Kinahans.World as part of its Metaverse projects. Kinahans has always been ten steps ahead when it comes to scaling the digital realm. Before entering the Metaverse, they were accepting Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) as payments as well as experimenting with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Kinahan’s metaverse projects will include 3D and AR-enabled objects ranging from digital whiskey casks and other branded items, created in collaboration with upcoming digital NFT artists. Kinahan’s new technologies are developed and powered by Swiss-based FoodTech Generation 7 Group (G7G) specializing in developing and implementing digital capabilities and offline-to-online integrations.

Kinahan’s Digital Ambassadors come with their favourites and expertise

Kinahan’s Digital Ambassadors come with their favorites and expertise. Source: EIN News

Kinahan has launched their digital ambassadors to replicate their brand values into the metaverse. They are made in line with Kinahan’s audiences in mind and live in a virtual environment. They help introduce virtual consumers to Kinahan’s products and encourage sales of their actual products and virtual NFTs.  Over time, they will become fully rigged hyper-realistic AI-enabled digital humans with additional features and technologies to allow full consumer interaction.

Wine and Spirits in the metaverse will also serve as embellishments for digital avatars or exist as digital products in their virtual spaces. For example, you can buy a 3D branded Kinahan’s whiskey cask as NFT. You can then save it on your device, place it inside your room using AR, share it with your friends, post it on social media and even resell it to someone else.

Another possible space for brands to foray into is hosting virtual “tastings”, allowing avatars to meet over a glass of wine or whiskey by hosting branded virtual bar nights. This would become a great space to introduce users to newer products and educate them about the same. Virtual experiences could also result in sales as they can easily recall these brands when they are out shopping for wine and spirits in the real world. Brands can also use the Metaverse as a space to launch their products. This would help them move beyond the traditional press releases and invite enthusiasts to have a look and feel before having to taste the product.

The Metaverse will be an exciting space populated by a younger demographic. This will also allow brands to reinvent themselves in the virtual space or extend their on-premise image with robust virtual packaging. It wouldn’t be outlandish to expect digital wine cellars to become a thing, adding to the job descriptions of wine consultants or creating more consultants in the metaverse instead. Gear up to experience the revolution, one virtual project at a time!

Header Image: WiV technologies’ wine emporium. Source: Medium

Article by Prithvi Nagpal, Editor & Sommelier, Beverage Trade Network

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