Before YEN’s matt-black bottles are even filled for the first time, this luxury spirits start-up will make history as the world’s first NFT-tokenised gin brand.
From 1 April the first 100 bottles of the artisan, Christchurch-distilled gin go on sale in the form of a limited, first edition, NFT (non-fungible token) bottle collection – unashamedly building hype as part of a slick marketing strategy to build a new global brand digitally.
Founders, creative director Blue-Monte Hamel and award-winning mixologist Luke Dawkins, are passionate about the potential of NFTs – technology that reflects and appeals to the interests of mostly millennial and Gen Z drinkers and investors, offering them a way of purchasing that appeals to them more.
“We set out to challenge the common preconceptions surrounding people’s opinions about gin being staid and conventional,” commented Hamel.
“The gin industry is oversaturated with brands focused purely on history, craft and tradition. We’re here to disrupt that with something altogether new and experiential — the black sheep of gin.
“All of us are driven by something. A craving or obsession, passion or pastime – a drive to seek out the things that inspire us. The Chinese call it a YEN.”
YEN’s vision is to transform the customer experience into a cutting-edge, immersive ecosystem where trust verification of official YEN products can take place from anywhere in the world, harnessing the blockchain to tokenise individual YEN gin bottles into NFTs – each carrying a unique digital serial number. The data remains forever stored in the blockchain’s transparent ledger system, encouraging buyer confidence in the new and often ambiguous realm of Web 3 e-commerce.
“Gin has been experiencing a revival in recent years,” noted Dawkins.
"But it’s somewhat of an oversaturated category where the brand story of most gins is based on historic craft. Discerning drinkers now want artisan gin and while there’s a growing willingness to try New Zealand brands, the differentiator mostly boils down to which botanicals have been used.
“That’s why the NFT marketing approach makes YEN so exciting. We’re literally disrupting the traditional gin market – this really is a pioneering a movement forward in the gin category.”
YEN’s positioning is as a luxury brand for style-conscious trendsetters looking to experience a sleek and modern take on a timeless classic. Supremely comfortable being viewed as the black sheep of the international gin industry, YEN is intentionally seeking to disrupt this very traditional market.