Anheuser-Busch InBev’s beer brand Budweiser launched its first non-fungible token (NFT) collection, the Heritage Collection, featuring 1936 unique digital designs of beer cans as digital assets. The collection was dropped yesterday and sold out in less than one hour. Twenty percent have already been flipped for a higher price, with another 75% up for sale.
The NFTs could be purchased by consumers above drinking age through Budweiser’s website using cryptocurrency or regular credit cards. The pricing of the item depended on their scarcity, as Budweiser launched two collections Core Heritage and Gold Heritage. A total of 1900 Core Heritage NFTs were minted and priced at $499. The other 36 NFTs were part of the Gold Heritage set and sold for $999 each.
Many brands have been using NFTs as part of rewards schemes to promote loyalty. In those projects, NFTs are usually given away for free, either through a lottery or through proof of purchase, and they serve to make consumers want to be a part of the brand. Rather than looking for ‘flippers’ the idea is for people to keep the NFT and enhance a sense of community among the digital asset holders. Giving away NFTs for free is arguably the safer option for a brand.
Budweiser chose to opt for the more ambitious strategy, issuing a relatively low number of NFTs at a not-insignificant price. Given the current bubbly NFT market, purchasers are looking to flip the NFTs for a higher price. Within a matter of hours, 400 have already been sold for around $2,000 each, representing a quick $1,500 profit for early buyers. Almost 1500 of the NFTs, or 75%, are currently listed for sale on NFT marketplace OpenSea. Given the degree of flipping, the question is what the brand objective for Budweiser is? It ticks the box for engaging with the cryptocurrency sector. After it sold out, its Twitter profile directed people to OpenSea.
A couple of thousand NFT owners are probably pretty happy right now. But what if NFT prices eventually drop significantly? Will the owners blame themselves or the brand? But then again, it will only be a couple of thousand people out of many millions of customers. A key aspect is the learning experience.
It seems that this is just Budweiser’s first run at NFTs. The company purchased the Beer.eth domain for roughly $95,000. It changed one of its Twitter profile pictures to a rocket ship designed by NFT artist Tom Sachs. In addition, the beer brand is investing in Gary Vaynerchuk’s new NFT venture, VaynerNFT.
“The Budweiser Heritage Collection is designed to celebrate the brand’s iconic history while also moving Budweiser into the metaverse,” said Spencer Gordon, VP of Digital + draftLine at Anheuser-Busch. “The launch of this NFT Collection is yet another example of our innovative and consumer-first approach to further strengthen our iconic brands.”
Meanwhile, Mark Cuban’s NBA Mavericks team is issuing NFTs as rewards for game attendees, as are most NFL teams for specific games. McDonald’s launched NFTs to celebrate a return of an iconic menu item and Mastercard managed a lottery of a single NFT in partnership with football coach Mourinho.