Nimantha Siriwardana, CTO of Metacask, on Digital Ownership of Luxury Alcohol
In an exclusive interview with cryptonews.com, Nim Siriwardana, Co-Founder and CTO of Metacask, talks about digitalizing the spirits industry for transparent asset ownership, and the intersection between luxury goods and NFTs.
About Nim Siriwardana
Nimantha Siriwardana is the Co-Founder and CTO of Metacask, the marketplace for high-quality spirits. Nim spearheads the platform, helping producers and brands streamline the transaction process and introduce NFTs as digital proofs of purchase. Metacask also offers the spirits industry’s first fully-integrated inventory management, asset tracking, and marketing solution. Nim has over 20 years of experience in delivering technology solutions. Prior to co-founding Metacask, he served as the CTO of GSR and worked across various financial services companies, including Goldman Sachs and Source Capital AG.
Nim Siriwardana gave a wide-ranging exclusive interview which you can see below, and we are happy for you to use it for publication provided there is a credit to www.cryptonews.com.
Highlights Of The Interview
Founding Metacask: The idea behind the marketplaceDigitalizing the spirits industry for transparent asset ownershipMaking the spirits industry more accessibleNFTs adding real value and utility to the spirits industryEstablishing legitimacy in the traditional whisky and spirits industryMaking inventory management less siloed and more secure with asset trackingThe intersection between luxury goods and NFTsSpirits as an asset class
Full Transcript Of The Interview
Matt Zahab Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the Cryptonews Podcast. We’re buzzing. As always, we love to buzz on the crypto news pod and I’m super pumped to have today’s guest on the show. This will be a unique one as we get to talk about something that I’m sure a couple of the listeners love to sip on every once in a while and that is booze. Cannot wait, here we are Nimantha Siriwardana, man my apologies I probably butchered your name, but we have Nim the Co-Founder and CTO of Metacask the marketplace for high quality spirits. Nim spearheads the platform helping producers and brands streamline the transaction process and introduce NFTs as Digital Proofs of Purchase. Metacask also offers the spirit industry’s first fully integrated inventory management, asset tracking and marketing solution. Nim has over 20 years of experience in delivering tech solutions. And prior to co-founding Metacask he served as the CTO of GSR and worked across various financial services companies, including Goldman Sachs and Source Capital AG. Without further ado, I’m very pumped to have Nim on the show. Nim, welcome to the show my friend
Nimantha Siriwardana Hi Matt, thanks very much for having me on the show. I’m really looking forward to the next hour or so this conversation right?
Matt Zahab Me too super pumped to have you on when we had the opportunity to make this happen. This really piqued my interest because it’s just such a unique value prop you guys have like this. To my knowledge, there aren’t a whole lot of people doing this in this space. And drinking is something that’s so commonplace in today’s day and age, it’s part of culture doesn’t matter what part of the world you live in, you don’t have an A lovely glass or two or have something as an absolute treat. And you are tokenizing that yes, but you know what you’re doing right now, what do you sipping on?
Nimantha Siriwardana So I actually have a little shot of it’s actually a sample from a little distillery in Scotland, well, not so little anymore. They call Edradour. And so I’ve had a sample on my desk for the last six months since we sponsored this class or party of Trevor Jones this last year. And so I figured it’s time to open it and give it a go. And so here I am with it. So I hope you don’t mind.
Matt ZahabBut to be honest, better, it’s 3pm as I record right now, and that’s not too early at all, but big rookie move on my part, I definitely should have had a glass of something here in Mexico, probably tequila. But before we get into Metacask and yourself, talk to me about some of your favorite drinks you’ve ever had. Was there one sip in particular, where you just had your mind absolutely blown off. Like for me, I had a I forget the name of it. It was that a lovely bar in Toronto. And I had I want to say it was 18 year Japanese whiskey, probably the best whiskey I’ve ever tasted in my life. And at that same place. The best red wine I’ve ever had in my life as well. I was with an old colleague of mine/boss, who is very wealthy and treated us to it. And that was incredible. Also shout out Tony G in Dubai had some incredible wine and booze with him too. But any sips of wine, or whiskey or cognac or tequila or anything that just absolutely blow your socks off. And you still think up to this day.
Nimantha Siriwardana Oh, yeah, for sure. So in 21, around November time, we are actually October we auctioned a barrel of whiskey from McAllen, that was made in 1991. So at the time was something like 30 years old. And as part of the process of verifying this thing, you know that it physically existed, the liquid is all good to go. I was lucky enough to actually receive a sample from this barrel. And so I got delivered a nondescript little bottle. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a sample bottle that they bring to you from barrels, right. They’re very small samples about 250 mil normally, and open this put this into a little glass tasted a 30 year old MacAllan for the first time. And that is something you will never forget. I mean, you know, the reality is if you look at a 30 You’re on McAllen these days, if you’re going to retail if you can find one, but you’re looking to pay somewhere between three and $5,000 for a bottle. And it’s not the kind of thing that you normally open. And so you collect it for sure, but it’s very unlikely you would slip on it and so having a sample directly from this barrel, it was amazing. I think, I don’t think I’ve gonna see anything that’s going to top that. Except maybe the next barrel that we’re going to auction but we can talk about that some other points.
Matt Zahab So a 30 year old like, what does that even taste like? I think I think the oldest I’ve ever done was I want to say, I think it was probably a 21 or 22 Glenfiddich.
Nimantha Siriwardana The smells that you get from this is something that you’re not going to find anywhere else, right. It’s like fine wines and a standard table wine that you would have a bottle of right? There is there are so many different levels of complexity and taste. I’m not a snob, I wouldn’t be able to say, oh, I can distinguish this particular note and that particular note, you know, whether it’s in a smell or taste, right? But the reality is that the moment that thing enters your mouth and you hit the smell hits your nose, you can tell there’s something special about it, but it doesn’t have you don’t have to be told what it is. There is a difference. You can tell chalk and cheese. Now I’m doing this and then I know what this smells like, right? And yet, you know, I still remember what that smells and tastes like and, and that’s the kind of thing that it leaves that fingerprint in your mind about what it tastes like when you never forget it. I mean, I’m saying the best bottle of wine I’ve ever had. Right, you know, that was like a thing as a boarder from France. It’s something that I forgot this specific vintage and the Chateau I think it was 1991 as well. But you can’t it for a few hours. So there you build up to that experience, right. And once it’s been decanted, you know, they bring it out to put it in class. And the first step you take is like, there are so many different flavors, your mind is immediately blown, right? And you compare it to your table wine and you’re like, Okay, well, I’m not drinking that anymore. Just continue pouring this for me, right? That’s, you know, that’s what you you experienced when you first try something like that. Right. And so this McAllen, obviously, you know, that’s, that’s what stays in my mind. But to be honest, pretty soon after that, I tried to Glenfarclas. So that’s the 30 year old as well. And that’s really nice, but it’s a little bit more smoother. But that memory of the 91 that doesn’t go away. Sure.
Matt Zahab I love that the I love the description too about like, you know, knowing where you are in the room and just know, that’s incredible. That’s one of my goals, I’d love to be able to, hopefully be wealthy enough that I can treat my loved ones to, you know, $5,000 bottle of wine and not even blink an eye. You know, instead of being like, this is gonna hurt. It’s just, here’s bottle, there’s feelings.
Nimantha Siriwardana It’s an experience right? But I think the interesting thing is that it’s all about experience, right? So you know, you go through life, you should accumulate experiences, right? You know, you can accumulate all the money you want, but the problem is, at the end of it, if you have not had any experience with along the way, you kind of almost missed out, right? So I think accumulating experience is really the way forward right? Man that’s something that you know, definitely keep in mind. And certainly, like how I’m trying to factor my life experiences.
Matt Zahab 100% Tell me, tell me about Metacask, one, I love the name. When I first read it, I was just like, this is like, it just doesn’t get a whole lot better than that. Your Metacask you’ve met a cat like it’s just, it’s absolute cash. So kudos to you and the team phenomenal name. I love the idea. I love the founding story, you gotta tell me it again, and let our listeners hear about how you and the team came up with this idea.
Nimantha Siriwardana Ofcourse so beginning of 21, I got approached by a whiskey broker in the UK. So I think the same concept exists in the US. So if you want to buy a barrel of whiskey, for example, often you might be building let’s say, an alternative asset portfolio of some sort, right? And so what happens is there are these brokers who sell you access to these barrels, or distilleries or perhaps even barrels or in private collectors hands, right? And so I got approached by such a broker in the UK. And then they said, you know, Okay, why don’t you invest in a portfolio of whiskey. So I started looking at it, and then looked at how the process worked, and realized it was actually very manual paper based, really relied on these brokers, you know, keeping good records for all this inventory that you could potentially end up owning, right? And so at the time, you know, this is what beginning of 21, NFTs, were really starting to become mainstream, right, there was, you know, this kind of wave of adoption. And so I kind of flipped the, the approach back and went back to the broker and said, Look, instead of me investing whiskey and buying this thing, here’s an idea, right? We could use NFTs to actually try to simplify this process. By simplifying, we can also start, you know, putting provenance down on the chain right? And recording a whole bunch of useful information. I’m actually more importantly, you know, if I bought this stuff, right, I can prove this, I own this thing and record it. Yeah. You know. And so, they, they looked at it, and they were really forward thinking. So Stuart is my co-founder from Metacask Keys, also the MD of the broker, he basically looked at and said, you know, this actually solves a real problem for us. Because right now, it’s a real pain in the neck, we have to go back and figure out where this thing came from, you know, what state it’s in? Where is that? Who owns it, who’s owned it in the past you know, that information that’s not available beyond the last cell, right? And so, there’s a lot of processes that we could actually, you know, make more efficient by going down this route. And so he said, Yeah, let’s do this. And so we got together and we basically started in our building out Metacask actually, one of the other co-founders, so one of the guys I used to work with that GSR, he came up with a name Metacask. So I have to thank him for that. But it was a he was instrumental. We did have some problems with it in the early days, because obviously your Metamask, Metacask and so We were getting blacklisted on lots of different sites because of Metamask. Thankfully, the team there, you know, whitelist us for we’re okay now,
Matt Zahab I’d love that. So like, give me if, if you were to alleviate one of the pain points of these distributors or authenticators or anyone within sort of that vertical of the industry, what gets them going the most like, what? And again, obviously, you guys alleviate a lot of pain points, but what in particular, is there like, oh shit, this is the sauce this is it, we need this.
Nimantha Siriwardana Right. So from the sales perspective, which is the actual broker that came to me right there, their biggest concern and still exist at the moment is, the ownership of the actual underlying barrel is often in their name at the warehouse. So it might be that you actually own the barrel. But there’s actually this record that VCL has to keep, right. And most brokers also do this, which says, Okay, this barrel belongs to you. But actually, at the warehouse, the barrel is in the name of VCL. Right. And this is real, you know, this is a situation that happens right now, because most warehouses, they can’t scale to individual users owning single assets in their warehouses, right. I mean, as you can imagine, there’s lots of these warehouses, there’s like, in 1 million barrels up in Scotland, there’s 22. And that was it Kentucky and Tennessee right? So if you were
Matt Zahab Wait, there’s 21 million barrels?
Nimantha Siriwardana Oh, yeah. In Scotland? For sure. Right. Yeah, there’s a lot. That can be tokenized. It’s not a it’s not a small amount, right. Yeah,
Matt Zahab That’s insane.
Nimantha Siriwardana That’s some average year, right. So you know, they’re constantly producing and taking away obviously, as things, you know, stock is maturing. But keep in mind, also, you know, scotch, it can’t be called scotch, unless there’s at least three years old. And so there’s a minimum maturation period where this thing has to sit there, and then often get blended in, there’s a lot of blends going on, right? It’s you’re probably aware, right? But the number is, you know, pretty much the same. When you look across the states. You know, if you go to any of the whiskey producing states, they’ll have similar numbers of barrels in inventory. But the reality is that, you know, some of this stuff will be in private collectors hands, but some of it will be owned via brokers. And that’s really where the problem, you know, to start, you know, start off, right, especially as the brokers go out of business, for example, right? How do I prove that I own this asset. And so brokers, the biggest problem is they’ve got to somehow keep these records in a way that makes sure that if they get liquidated, you know, those assets aren’t considered part of the brokers assets, and they’re actually considered separate and it belongs to other people. And this is a really hard problem to solve, in general. And so, you know, that’s really where the blockchain can help, because blockchain records that in a transparent of fourth way, all these other benefits that you get, you know, their ancillary benefits, the fact that you can prove that ownership, that’s significant, if you think about it, right. A lot of this is coming down to law, like you go to court, you can argue your case, right? And you need evidence by the weight of black and white, right?
Matt Zahab Black and white
Nimantha Siriwardana So if you can approve this is my digital account. This is my token that’s in there, therefore mine, right? That’s more weight to your argument. And that’s really what the blockchain is going to provide him with this.
Matt Zahab When did you first learn about like the asset class of, of spirits, and, you know, these very rich men and women having wine cellars, I remember growing up and you know, I was fortunate enough to play on some my family’s always middle class, but I got to play with some very wealthy families, because hockey is a usually a pretty wealthy sport, and a couple of my friends, their parents had little, you know, wine cellars in the basement. And like, that’s, that was so foreign to me, right? And you walk in and you see these incredible bottles of wine, and then my buddy’s dad would, you know, tell a couple stories, Oh, this one’s worth 20 grand that’s worth, you know, 40, grand, blah, blah, blah, and so forth. So baffling to me, but like one did sort of When did you first learn about the asset class of spirits of wine of liquors, that I just find that so interesting? So I mean, in terms of
Nimantha Siriwardana So I mean, in terms of spirits, I always considered, well, I’m just going to drink it, right? I’m not going to collect it and invest in it. And it never, it never really occurred to me that it could be an alternative asset class, right? I knew that there was a group of people who are collecting wine. So you know, there’s a lot of, let’s say, if you buy like, you know, if you try to get by burgundy, for example, right, I mean, these days is virtually impossible, because all the good stuff is sold out very quickly, way ahead of time, right? Because burgundy is considered like an investment grade wine, right? You know, these like five, six, seven, eight thousand, fiftenn $16,000 bottles of wine, right? So I knew that this concept that existed. What I didn’t really realize was how big the actual whiskey that’s a cask collector, or at least investments spaces. Right. I think that’s the biggest shock right when I looked at it.
Matt Zahab And Nim one quick question when you’re talking about the cask itself, that’s people who are in literally, let’s say, I’ll pick one that I’m familiar with Woodford Reserve right Bourbon and Gold Kentucky, right? Yes. Would that be that someone is they just they own that cask in the Woodford sort of factory, or are the Woodford sort of stable at the time to warehouse?
Nimantha Siriwardana Yeah so that’s how it worked in Scotland, for example, right. So in, in the States, I’d imagine it’s exactly the same in the sense that while the barrel is maturing, you know, it would sit there actually in the warehouse. I think at some point, you can obviously have a bottle and then deliver it, right? I don’t know, in the States, specifically, there’s, you can have the barrel delivered, right, which I’m assuming is the thing. But in the UK, at least, it’s not possible to have the barrel delivered to barrel must sit in the warehouse. And another really interesting aspect of this is that a lot of this inventory is actually sitting in bonded warehouses, right. So there’s, you know, some shed in the middle of a field somewhere, but actually, it’s almost like you have to go through a process before you can actually open up and set up a bonded warehouse, right? That bonded warehouse brings along all sorts of requirements, like, for example, you got to report in the UK, you have to report to the HMRC, which is the revenue services, right? And you got to tell the revenue services every month, every quarter, this is how much liquid I have stored at my warehouse, right. And so it’s a nice, it sets up the space quite nicely, because you know, that the underlying physical asset that we’re dealing with, is actually not going to go for a walk is to kind of sit there until it’s mature. And so digital ownership of that really kind of was just the next step along. Right. And so it may make sense. But yeah, from that perspective, you know, the fact that the the asset has to sit there, the barrel will sit there until it matures. I think that that makes things a little bit easier. The lifetimes of these things. I mean, it’s insane, you know, the oldest barrel that we have access to is 54 years old, right? You can imagine it’s just sat there for 54 years. It’s like what’s it doing gathering dust, it just sits there for 54 years. But that’s really where all the flavor and the complexity and the whiskey complement.
Matt Zahab That’s such a weird, like, how do you even explain that though, you know what I mean, like to someone who doesn’t understand booze, but it was like, imagine telling someone, the longer you let like these grapes, or this wheat, malt and barley or whatever, the longer you let this sit in a wooden friggin barrel, the better it tastes, like, what like that just is so ass backwards, you wouldn’t you think I’d get like moldy and, and it would evaporate, and it would just become just a absolute cesspool of grossness. But like, No, it just locks in the flip, like crazy right?
Nimantha Siriwardana Unfortunately the problem is that you do get some of that too, right. So you do get spoiled barrels that that can happen if the barrel is not stored correctly in the right conditions, and so on. But you have to understand that these guys have been working on this stuff. They’ve been working on this stuff for hundreds of years, right? So they’ve got to experience right, they know exactly how to store these things, how to look after these things, how to care for these things, right. And so the likelihood of spoils I mean, it does happen, but it’s going to be fairly sort of on the low end, right. But the reality is, the best thing you can do is just leave it there. But the thing is, you know, I say we leave it there, the reality is, you don’t just leave it there, you do have to test it periodically to make sure that it’s still progressing. You know, you’ll get to a point where you can mature the liquid for a really long period of time. But you’ve probably heard of this concept of the angel share, right, which is basically where the the liquid sort of evaporates over time, right, as the, as the liquid is maturing a certain percentage of the alcohol percentage of it also is also evaporating. So the concept is, in the old days, you say the angels are having a couple once in a while, right. And so that’s really where it all comes from, right. But the reality is over time, that liquid level goes down. And so the number of bottles you’re going to potentially get out of it sort of reduces, right. But you also get to the point where the alcohol level drops below a certain point. So for example, in Scotland, you can’t have it dropped below 40%. If it goes below 40%, then it’s not really considered, you know, scotch whisky, right. And so, as a result, you have to make sure that you’re monitoring this as well to realistically test the barrel. So that’s where you take out a sample and you measure it right and you take the alcohol levels and so on. So there’s a whole process that they go through, we call it regauging so regauging is a process of testing that cask and checking that it’s still in a good state. And you do this every sort of few years, just to make sure that it’s progressing.
Matt Zahab I was just gonna say, if I were to own like, let’s say on one of these barrels, a beautiful bottle of scotch and Scotland. And I, you know, let’s say I started this when I was 18 10 years ago. Now I’m 28. And I’m like, You know what, it’s time I want to invite my family over have have my boys over and we’re going to crack it open today. Yeah. And you said they won’t deliver to your house but are they going to like bottle it up and put this has been aged for? I don’t know. Let’s say it’s an 18 year bang, are they going to take it? Slap labels on it? Give me the whole shebang, the whole nine yards, like how does that whole process work when I actually want to get the alcohol itself?
Nimantha Siriwardana So you have to have a bottle for sure. Before you get it delivered? That’s the first step right. How get bottles really depends on what the original terms of the contract was when you actually bought the barrel. So there are some programs by some distilleries, where they’ll give you bottling rights along with the barrel itself, right. So what that means is, when you come to, you know, to have it bottled, you can actually use their brand, the name, maybe there’s a special variation of it something like this, to actually have the whiskey bottled, right. But mostly, a lot of especially a lot of the older stuff that was sold, they weren’t really sold with many rights. And so what happens these days, a lot of the brands are quite protective of their IP, which as they should be, right. And so what ends up happening is if you want to open a barrel now and you want to have it like bottled, that you would have to have it independently bottle. And so what you see there’s a lot of independent bottlers, who now have set up kind of like a sideline job, right. And what they’ll do is they’ll take your barrel, you know, they’ll work with you to design a bottle, they will work with you to design the label, because the labeling has to adhere to certain standards in Scotland, and I’m sure it’s the same in the US, right? And so, you know, they have to make sure that happens. So that’s why you have a special label design with the bottles. And once that’s all done, then they’ll bottle it for you. And then they’ll ship either the actual liquid itself, right. And depending on where you are, obviously there’s import duties, you know, all these other things that have to interact with them, and shipping costs and so on. Yeah. But for sure, you know, there are there may be some rare costs that are flying around that do include bottling rights, they tend to be a little bit more well sought after, but they’re really hard to find if you can find them. And again, you know, this is another thing, right? So how do you keep that information and preserve it over like 30 years time? Oh, there’s actually bottling rights for this class. And that’s, again, a really, you know, useful aspect of putting stuff onto a blockchain, right? It’ll just be there. And you can always be sure.
Matt Zahab It makes so much sense. I can see one of these, you know, like a lot of guys who won when they have that much money, I’m sure they’re not flipping this for profit. It’s probably just for personal consumption. But the you know, that’s the other thing. I was curious about, like, how many bottles of whiskey, or how many bottles of Scotch you get from a barrel? Dozens
Nimantha Siriwardana It’s more than that. So for example,
Matt Zahab Could you in theory name, could I flip those? If I wanted to? Like, could I then take my 40 bottles of scotch and then sell those individually? Scotch? Don’t I not?
Nimantha Siriwardana Yeah, for sure. It’s yours, right? So there’s nothing preventing you. I mean, that’s why I said like, a lot of these independent bottles, what they’ll do is they’ll, you know, they’ll, they’ll bottle it, and you can set up your own label around it right now, there’s going to be some restrictions on how you can sell this stuff, obviously, because, you know, like, in the US, for example, you will need like liquor license and all the rest of that. Right. But I mean, if you’re just flipping one or two once in a while, I mean, I don’t know, like what the specific regulations will be. I’m not going to give you a legal advice, right. But it is, you know, if you want to take that and chuck it on eBay, for example, you know, as long as they don’t restrict alcohol, there’s nothing stopping you from doing that. And so, I’m just saying that, you know, you could potentially create a brand, you can work with a brand, right and say, Look, I have this special barrel, we can do this. The number of bottles, you’d be surprised. I mean, the 91 that I mentioned, that we sold in 21. That had like, 500 bottles in there. 500 bottles, that’s a lot, right. So if you’re going to have that bottle and deliver it, I mean, I hope you got a really strong for liberate, gonna need it. But yeah, it varies. You can get 150 500 It just depends on the size of the barrel.
Matt Zahab Right. So interesting, man, this is, this has luxury goods written all over it like NFTs and luxury goods. It’s such a match made in heaven. Speaking of that, let’s take a quick break. Gotta give a huge shout out to our sponsor the show PrimeXBT. We love the team at PrimeXBT as they offer a robust trading system for both beginners and professional traders. Doesn’t matter if you’re a rookie or a vet. You can easily design and customize your layouts, and widgets to best fit your trading style. PrimeXBT is also running an exclusive promo for listeners of the Cryptonews Podcast. The promo code is Cryptonews50, that’s Cryptonews50 to receive 50% of your deposit credited back to your trading account PrimeXBT hooking us all up again, the promo code is Cryptonews50 to receive 50% of your deposit credited to your trading account. And now back to the show with Nim. Nim luxury goods NFTs match made in heaven. Obviously beautiful bottles of whiskey beautiful bottles of bourbon scotch, luxury good. It’s about as luxurious as it gets. We’ve seen luxury brands jump on the trend as well. This seems like the train has just left the station. How early are we in the sort of NFTs X luxury goods collab?
Nimantha Siriwardana I think we’re super early. I mean, that’s very clear. I will I will talk to a bunch of brands who are looking to enter the space. Right? And they’re just starting to make them it’s now. And so I think there’s going to be a huge momentum but it also depends on you know, really how they plan to integrate the technology into what they’re doing. And there has to be a well thought through process and this is the point that we’ve been emphasizing to a lot of brands you know So we’ve seen recently there’s a whole bunch of drops that happen where they just write the NFT bandwagon, we’ll just put some stuff on there and see what happens. Right. And that will work to a point. But it’s very short term just right. And so if you want to have a long term plan, there has to be, you know, thought through plan about how do we transfer additional value to our consumers, right. And so, you know, it’s not just about dropping a bunch of NFTs and forgetting about it, they have to, you have to build around it, there has to be community building, there has to be constant, you know, update around, this is what’s going to happen. This is the roadmap, this is the pipeline of stuff that we’re going to deliver it the additional utility, right. And so as long as there’s a well thought through plan, it can happen. But as I said, you know, a lot of the brands that we’ve talked to, they’re definitely in the early stages. And so there’s going to be some interesting changes coming down the next, you know, year and a half potentially. Right. But it’s, it is really going to be the ones that are going to be lasting are the ones that have, you know, thought through around utility thought were around what additional value, can they provide the end consumer, right? It’s not just about you know, going there and taking their ETH and walking away, it’s about you know, okay, you know, I’ve got now access to this consumer that I didn’t have before, how do I provide them additional access? It’s a really, I think it’s like one aspect of the blockchain, it’s almost overlooked, right, which is that as a brand, you’ve got direct access to all of your consumers, right? At a level right? You don’t have at the moment, you know, right now, I sell a bottle to a supermarket, you know, a store, whatever, I don’t know who’s bought it. I don’t know, you know, the fact that this person is going to consume it or whatever they’re doing, right. Whereas if you attach that digital twin, you tell them, I’ll go claim your digital twin right? Now you got a channel to that person, you can start sending them additional stuff, right? I mean, there’s a whole bunch of different things to do. And that’s really kind of the opportunities that we’re trying to say, this is what exists on blockchain if you actually look at it, right. Rather than just drop a few NFTs and move on.
Matt Zahab Yeah, that’s so true. And again, that’s why the whole spirits and you know, whiskey and bourbon, it makes so much sense wine, just anything where you want to know the person before you like, Who is this actually real? Is this authentic? Who was the previous owner? Anything? That’s a lot of luxury goods, right? Who owned this before me? Is this real? How do we know what’s not a fake? That shit matters so much like I’m even thinking about, I want to say there was a story a month ago, I’m sure I read it on Twitter. That’s where I get most of my news, like most of us, but it was about some group in New York City luxury wine guys. And this person was literally mixing a bunch of shitty red wines and selling them as like $10,000. vintages. I don’t know if you remember that story. But it’s like, that would have been so easy to authenticate. If they’re just jump on Metacasks. He, the previous owners see if this actually came from the distributor from this vineyard. So easy, right?
Nimantha Siriwardana That’s, that’s the source, right? I mean, you want to trust the source, the source is the distillery or the vineyard from where he came. And so, you know, one of the things that we’re trying to do is to go right to the distillery and say, Look, when you create these tokens, you mint a token using your own digital account, right, which is a verified thing that somebody can go and say, Oh, that is the account that belongs to such and such distillery, and that it should be an NFT, which is attached to this physical bottle that I’m dealing with. Right. And so that that whole kind of, you know, it’s almost like a chain of trust, right for that that park is maintained, right, as long as the token is issued by the distillery, right. And so that you can’t get without, you know, without having that kind of blockchain plus, also, you need another aspect of it, which is the whole IOT, you know, expats, right, the Internet of Things, you know, without things like QR codes, NFT tags, you know, whatever that is the new sort of generations of tech that’s coming through. Without that being able to connect back to what’s on the blockchain, it kind of falls apart a little bit, right. But because we have access to all this technology, we don’t have to invent anything. It’s all there, we just need to repurpose it into this right. And as we repurpose it, it gives that additional confidence to the person who’s buying it right that what they’re buying is, you know, it’s the right thing. It’s a real thing.
Matt Zahab It’s just that it’s perfect. It’s an it’s an absolute match made in heaven. Nim, there’s been a blast, I need to get some booze related hot takes out here. What’s like, what’s some of the most overrated sort of mainstream alcohol the people drink in your opinion? Or perhaps some of the some of your distributors and some of your people who are absolute experts in the industry where they’re like, this is trash, or this is so overrated or and on the flip side, maybe some incredibly underrated stuff can be a couple of booze related topics.
Nimantha SiriwardanaI think if I start denigrating on somebody, I’m going to I’m probably going to annoy a bunch of Brands right so I will hold that back. But I think that’s more for a private conversation as well and stuff like that, that we can probably get into from an underrated side of things. I think one of my favorite brands as I mentioned at the top of the podcasts was is the entire class right there. Their stuff is severely underrated, I think and so, you know, there’s a like, say the 30 year old for example, you know, it’s a decent price. Some $1,000 bottle of whiskey, right? And so it’s still in that kind of collectible range. And it’s definitely worth getting into worth having a look at. It’s also not very PT. So if you like PT whiskey is not sort of in that range is a little bit more lightweight, easy access, right? But if you’d like PT stuff, then obviously the ailet stuff, it’s, you know, hands down winner, right, but, but Glenfarclas is the one that I would say is kind of under the radar a little bit. And so, you know, what’s that for the next couple of years? I think there’s going to be some interesting movement there, especially in the third year already. That’s my favorite at the moment, for sure.
Matt ZahabWhat’s your take on the whole famous person and influencer? Dropping slash releasing a new whether it’s, you know, NELK Boys with Hard Seltzer or Ryan Reynolds with I think aviation gin, or George Clooney with what did Goerge do Casamigos was it?
Nimantha SiriwardanaCasamigos yeah, that’s a really interesting brand story. I mean, the history behind that they didn’t actually started out as a, as a brand that was going to sell tequila. I mean, it was, yeah, I want to drink some nice stuff. And so I want to have it made. But the only way they could have made is if you know, they had set up a small company in the US to bring it in. And so that was the only way they could get access to the actual producers down into killer, right. And so the interest is really interesting origin story they created for themselves. And then they shared it with their friends. And then their friends liked it. And so maybe there’s something here and then they expanded it out and suddenly just went nuts. Right? So I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s one where the obviously having George Clooney on board helps. That’s not gonna, I’m not gonna say no, right? But the reality is that the fact that, you know, they started out like that, that sort of sets a little bit more, or gives it a bit more credibility. If you’re, and then you take the opposite of that, you know, you’ve probably seen as one of the Kardashians you know, she’s done Kylie right? I mean, it was
Matt ZahabI don’t even know what it’s called. Like, I’ve never that’s it’s it’s weird, though. It’s like it with with the booze industry, you in the alcohol industry. Unless you get good distribution. I feel like you’re hooked. Like, you know what I mean? Like, without, you know, that is just so paramount to success. It’s not with social media nowadays, if you if you have a software company, yes, you still need the distribution, but like people can go to you where’s with booze, it’s still a physical product. So you have to get it in their hands. And like, again, like Casamigos, for example, that I don’t even remember seeing Casamigos was in the stores like five, six years ago. And now it’s just front and center. It’s everywhere. You know, and like another new one is classes all like that is that’s just that’s the new bougie thing to do. I’m sure you know, classes will of course, but it’s as It’s craziness. It’s just if you have the distribution, and the easiest way to have distribution is to use your clout, right? So that’s why these influencers and these famous people are starting tequilla brands, Elon Musk friggin sold out in what 30 seconds, his bolt, tequila probably tasted like shift 500 bucks a pop, like, I just find this whole industry, so intriguing and unique. And it’s one of the few industries where almost everyone takes part of it, like so many people drink. It’s such a big part of our culture
Nimantha Siriwardanais a huge market. I mean, you know, the revenues in this space are insane. If you look at the yearly revenues annually, right? In the spirits industry, I mean, it’s north of like $500 billion annually, right? I mean, that’s a large number, right? Like, that’s annually, that’s not even like, you know, to the entire lifetime, right? So 500 billion annually, right? And it’s like, twice the two years, the market cap for Bitcoin is just made up just from the revenue selling spirits, right. And so, if you look at it like that, you know, I think there is enough capacity there. And people are always after something interesting. And so, you know, one of the things that a lot of the brands are picked up on is obviously, this premiumization concept, right? You know, these days, we’re happy to splash a little bit more if we’re getting good quality, and we know where it’s coming from. And that’s another thing that I think people will start to focus a lot more on, which is, where did this thing come from? Has it been responsibly made, right? So there’s a lot of this kind of information that should also be provided by the producers. And, and again, you know, I don’t want to go back to the whole Blockchain thing. But that’s like a perfect application for it. You expose all this information about your production, you know, where these ingredients are sourced from your carbon footprint, your energy usage, all these things we talk about a lot on the Blockchain space, but we don’t talk about it in terms of all of these other things that we consume. And so having that information exposed and having a mechanism that allows the producers to expose this information directly to your consumers, and that’s going to change the way we can consume. Right now. We’re gonna look at and go, Yeah, okay. This is, you know, ethically sourced, responsibly sourced, responsibly produced, right.
Matt ZahabYeah, matters so much. People care about that. Nowadays. It’s so true. Nim I’m, this was an absolute treat men at this. I can talk to you for days. I have so many questions. Perhaps we’ll let it fly off the record. But we are getting tight for time. Thank you so much for coming on. You’ve definitely need to come back on for round two and at the pace that you guys are moving and grooving. I’m sure that there are We’ll be a lot of news in the next couple of months. But until then, can you please let our listeners know where they can find you and Metacask online and on socials? Sure.
Nimantha SiriwardanaMetacask.com is our site. So you will find all of our listings products on there, right? We do have something interesting dropping in the next couple of weeks. So keep an eye out for that. And on socials, Twitter, LinkedIn where there is Metacask as well.
Matt ZahabSo he does that name thank you so much, bro. Appreciate it and can’t wait until the next one.
Nimantha Siriwardana Thanks for having me on Matt it’s good good chatting to you
Matt Zahab Folks. What an episode with Nim. This one was too much fun. I know a lot of us are drinkers from time to time and seeing how NFTs can help revolutionize and help the classic and 1000-year-old industry grow very interesting stuff do go check out Metacask.com as always, I will include everything in the show notes. I really hope you guys enjoyed this one. Quick shout out to my team. Love you guys so much for everything you Justas my amazing sound editor. appreciate all your hard work and to the listeners love you guys. Keep on growing those bags and keep on staying healthy, wealthy, and happy bye for now, and we’ll talk soon