News Supply chain

Stella Artois, Budweiser owner AB InBev uses blockchain from barley field to bar

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AB InBev, the brewer behind brands like Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, has launched a blockchain trial in Europe that aims to provide beer drinkers with full transparency and traceability in the supply chain of barley through the scan of a QR code on the beer’s packaging. Belgian blockchain startup SettleMint developed the platform. Fujitsu is also supporting the initiative. 

AB InBev already works directly with 60% of its farming base, which represents around 35,000 barley growers across 13 countries and the five continents. However, the pilot is focused on the indirect farmers that compose the remaining 40% of the brewer’s barley supply, most of which are located in Europe.

Through a scalable blockchain system, the pilot will link 80 barley farmers across the North East of France with one malthouse in Antwerp and Stella Artois’ brewery in Leuven. AB InBev will use the platform’s information to aggregate and benchmark data that can improve the productivity, profitability, and environmental footprint across the network. “At scale, the data collected will not only provide a fully end-to-end view of the supply chain to consumers, but can help to advance agricultural development: improving growers yields and water and energy efficiency, as well as soil health,” said AB InBev in its announcement.

Consumers increasingly demand transparency in the supply chain. The implementation of food traceability platforms and blockchain solutions in supply chain management increases the guarantee of products’ quality and sustainability, enhancing a company’s competitiveness in markets. AB InBev’s decision to implement this solution will help the brewer to ensure the use of the finest ingredients in their products and, as said by AB InBev Europe’s CIO Pieter Bruyland, “link beer fans all the way back to the farm – from the barley field to the bar”.

AB InBev has been involved with several blockchain projects before its involvement with SettleMint. This year, it spoke about its work with blockchain startup BanQu to trace products in its supply chain. The partnership had previously completed Zambian trials to connect the company with communities that supplied raw material for beverage production. Furthermore, AB InBev is a member of the Trust Your Supplier blockchain platform to verify and validate supplier credentials for onboarding. 

Meanwhile, SettleMint met AB InBev via Europe’s Horizon 2020 funding and collaboration initiative. The startup raised 1.9 million Euros ($2.25 million) led by the venture arm of Dutch telecoms firm KPN and Medici Ventures. The startup aims to provide a Blockchain Platform as a Service (BPaaS), providing middleware to enable companies to integrate any blockchain into their existing applications.