At the heart of The Elephant and Castle, London, an area once known for drug deals and prostitution, now sits a thriving social hub filled with local food and drink businesses serving thousands of customers every day – the home of Craft Beer Coin.
The jewel in the crown of the Mercato Metropolitano though, is undoubtedly the German Kraft brewery. And it is here that blockchain technology, a unique water purification process, and of course beer, is combining to change lives all over the planet.
(This article is taken from 21CRYPTOS Magazine – read the full 100 page monthly magazine HERE).
Founded by three college friends; Felix Bollen, Michele Tieghi and Anton Borkmann, German Kraft brews its unique beers with hops and malts made specially for them by 400-year-old German brewery, Steinbach Bräu.
It is a taste of Franconia, Germany, home for Felix’s mother, Silvia and his father Florian who, as well as steering his son through the choppy waters of big business, is CEO of the Aquiva Foundation. The charity works tirelessly to provide water for drinking and agriculture for the developing world through sustainable desalination.
“Back in Germany, we fell in love with this wonderful beer from my wife’s school friend’s brewery. It had truly unique recipes, developed over hundreds of years. So when we moved to the UK, we were really suffering without it!” Florian explained.
“30 years later, finally our son was old enough to do an internship at the brewery and he said, ‘why don’t we just brew this beer ourselves, in the UK?’”
“It was a great idea, but unfortunately, our German friend told us it would be impossible. Sadly the water in London is not right to recreate that unique taste.”
If only Florian knew somebody that could purify water…
“That’s when the stars begin to align” Florian explained. “I realised we could use the same technology that was desalinating water for our charity, to brew the beer”.
German Kraft’s perfect cycle
Fast forward to 2019 and German Kraft has a high-tech, London-based brewery, churning out pint after pint of uniquely German beers with a scientific twist. We’re surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands of visitors at the Mercato Metropolitano, and dwarfed by 11 imposing brewing tanks – all filled with beer made using a unique environmentally friendly water purification system, as Florian explains;
“Our system allows us to use waste energy and recycle it 6 times under vacuum to produce more distilled water than conventional distillation methods.” Florian explains.
“It’s a perfect cycle. “We take all of the water used by the entire Metropolitano market and run it through our heat exchanger to have efficient condensation for the distillation process producing pure water for the beer that then serves the market again”.
Craft Beer Coin is tokenizing happiness
10 years after the birth of Bitcoin, we may still be waiting for true mass adoption of cryptocurrency. But here, in the Elephant and Castle area of London, hundreds of pints of beer are going to be bought every day with Craft Beer Coin – Crypto mass-adoption in action.
For the beer-loving crypto aficionado, Craft Beer Coin ($CBC) has plenty of appeal. German Kraft promises that however high or low the price of their coin gets, every single one will always be exchangeable for at least one pint of their finest brew. But this isn’t just a marketing gimmick: “Beer and human civilization are really, really closely linked together” Florian explains. “For over 10,000 years a good pint of beer has always had, in relative terms, a really stable value. It’s not like oil, gold or paper currencies which go up and down depending on crazy market conditions. Beer has a relatively stable value all around the world – in fact, most of the time there is a strong correlation between the local price of beer and the income of the people in the area,” He said.
After a recent glut of fiat-backed stable coins entering the crypto space, it’s interesting to see how well a coin backed by such a popular commodity will fare.
There is also the thrill of paying for a real-life consumable product using crypto. In fact, being able to use a $CBC wallet to order a beer, whilst taking a tour of the food vendors within the Mercato Metropolitano, and finding a fresh pint waiting upon your return to the bar is exactly the kind of functionality that is missing from many current cryptocurrency applications. The ability to make life easier for consumers, rather than more complicated.
Further utility will be added by the CraftCoinCompany in the near future, when its token will become exchangeable for food and other products sold in supporting markets and with partnering ventures.
Craft Beer Coin breathes life into local breweries with blockchain
Independent breweries like German Kraft face a tough time in the UK. Even Fullers, a veritable institution in the UK brewery market, was recently forced to sell their brewing business to Japanese powerhouse Asahi.
The Craft Beer Coin has been developed, in part, to give local brewers the financial clout they need to fend off the sharks.
“Small, enthusiastic breweries create wonderful beers, but then they find they need capital to expand. That’s when the big guys swoop to buy them out and all of a sudden the fantastic beers are not fantastic anymore. They’re mass-produced – and the consumer suffers for it”. Florian explains.
“We’re creating an economy whereby we raise funds to brew good beer by issuing tokens. The investment in every coin is always underwritten by a pint of beer”.
“Local entrepreneurs that meet certain sustainability and credibility criteria can come to us, and the $CBC holding community will be able to vote on whether to finance their brewery. If successful, the original issuance of the coin pays for their brewery equipment, which in turn will allow them to supply the demand by the customers who bought coins. If they get $1million in financing though the coin issuance, they will probably be able to produce two, three or even $10million worth of beer over the years”.
“Then, the profits from coins spent on those beers can then be invested in the next brewery project. It really is the kind of community investment project that tokenization was invented for”. He said.
Local brewing, global benefits.
The scale of the environmental damage caused by multinational brewing companies delivering their beer from central locations mostly in one way packaging to towns and cities is hard to fathom.
Now though, the investment opportunity provided by tokenisation allows Craft Beer Coin to go into local communities and fund breweries wherever there is a demand. Saving thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions every year.
“The beer has to be brewed and consumed on site. So the focus is very much on the carbon neutrality of the non-transportation of products”. Florian explained.
Cryptocurrency driving urban regeneration
If breweries funded by the Craft Beer Coin can regenerate their local area in the same way that German Kraft has, the whole of the UK and beyond will have plenty to say ‘cheers’ over.
“The social impact that we’re having in every region we go to is incredible. Take the Elephant and Castle. Three years ago, this wasn’t the trendy, bustling destination you see today. In fact, before we arrived it was pretty much a no-go zone. There were drug dealers operating on the very land we stand on today. But together with the Mercato Metropolitano we like to think we’ve completely changed things around.” Florian explained. “Now, really, we’re a community centre. We have school kids come in in the morning learning how to cook. We have crop growing classes in the afternoons and during school holidays we feed kids that suddenly don’t have access to school dinners and their parents can’t make ends meet. Imagine if through Craft Beer Coin, we can have this kind of positive impact all over the country, and maybe even the world!”.
Creating jobs and a ‘zero mile economy’
In a recent meeting, the former Ambassador for Chile told German Kraft that he was most impressed by the number of jobs they were creating for locals – without major ecological impact.
It’s something Florian is incredibly proud of too: “McDonald’s in the US has two factories for their buns. They transport the buns across the US using guys driving huge trucks all around the country. The amount of energy wasted and human costs is just incredible. Here though, after just one year we had 70 local people working for us, doing something sustainable for the local area. This is the model we want to replicate all over the world,” He said.
The project is changing lives in the third world too. Excess purified water not used for brewing is put into glass bottles and sold at the Mercato Metropolitano market. 100% of the profits made from the sale of the bottles goes directly into the Aquiva foundation to help fund sustainable water projects in developing countries.
But Florian Bollen, together with his business partner Florian Krueger, have been inspired by the power of blockchain-based tokenization. They believe they can have an even more significant impact by utilising their Craft Beer Coin model in the water industry – providing purified water access to those who need it most.
“In large parts of India, North Africa and China, ground water reservoirs have been destroyed through overuse and agriculture,” Krueger explained. “So instead of sweetwater which can easily be turned into drinking water, you end up with saline waters even in the middle of the countries”.
“This salty-water is incredibly difficult, and expensive to desalinate. So, with a ‘Craft Water Coin’ we could provide the funds for local companies to buy the necessary equipment, and underwrite the coin-owner’s investment with the water they produce – again creating this self-perpetuating cycle of growth, value, and of course water”.
Definitely a plan worth raising a glass to.
Written by Carl Gunaratnam, CEO of Red Quokka Crypto