Bourbon enthusiasts have been collecting rare blends, barrels and bottles for years.
But one Kentucky spirits retailer looks to take that largely in-person experience and bring it into a digital realm with the help of blockchain technology.
Justins’ House of Bourbon, which has locations at 101 W. Market St. in Downtown Louisville and 601 W. Main St. in Lexington, Kentucky, has teamed up with BAXUS, a leading blockchain company in the spirits sector, to create a new whiskey authentication and trading program that aims to revolutionize the investment model for the global whiskey digital market, according to a news release.
“While Justins’ House of Bourbon is best known for the bottles that are oldest in the whiskey world, we’re very excited to be a part of something new to the industry,” said Justin Sloan, co-founder of Justins’ House of Bourbon, in the release. “We think authentication is a key piece to the credibility of this new market. This will allow investors to have peace of mind and real-time valuations of their investments as well as access to some of the ROIs [returns on investments] being seen in this sector.”
The new platform gives whiskey investors the opportunity to add, track and manage their spirits through a secure online portal. It’s designed to verify the authenticity of each bottle by using advanced blockchain technology, extensive analytics and machine learning.
Once scanned in and certified by Justins’ House of Bourbon, each bottle will be stored in BAXUS’ temperature-controlled, state-of-the-art vault and assigned a non-fungible token (NFT) on blockchain, which will list the history, pricing and grading details, according to the release. Collectors will have around-the-clock access to buy, sell, trade, hold or redeem each NFT using credit card, fiat or cryptocurrency.
Spirits will be kept safe in BAXUS’ vault and sales will be listed online only, not in Justins’ House of Bourbon stores. There is a 10% sellers fee to create an account, the release continued.
BAXUS assets are minted on the Solana blockchain. Its collection currently includes bottles of rare whiskeys, scotch, rum and tequila, such as an $18,000 Double Eagle Very Rare Decanter from Buffalo Trace.
“Justins’ House of Bourbon were pioneers in the modern whiskey market,” said Todd Wiesel, BAXUS founder and CEO. “Early on, they recognized the need to help connect whiskey lovers with rare bottles. We are incredibly excited to be partnering with them to help usher in the next generation of whiskey collecting, trading and appreciating.”
As Business First previously reported, Justins’ House of Bourbon opened its Lexington storefront in 2018, more than a decade after co-founders Sloan and Justin Thompson began collecting. The Louisville location opened in late 2019.
Thompson was among the founders of bourbon magazine “The Bourbon Review,” which launched in 2008. He also helped open Belle’s Cocktail House, a bourbon bar in downtown Lexington, and is co-owner in that endeavor.
This isn’t the first time the bourbon industry has crossed paths with the fast-paced world of NFTs.
As I previously reported, Louisville-based Party Horses has offered bottles of Makers Mark to their NFT holders. There are also other emerging marketplaces and platforms that allow you to invest in NFTs attached to real bottles (or casks) of booze, such as Metacast and BlockBar.
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