Anheuser-Busch InBev, the parent entity of Budweiser, Corona and many other beer brands, recently began to pilot a platform which lets end-customers track their malt beverages on the blockchain. This is not the first instance of the company's blockchain interest. They have previously unveiled a number of blockchain initiatives, including a vending machine ID verification system and document management protocols based on the technology.
“For the first time in our European operations, this project will create a fully transparent, indirect supply network all the way to the end consumer,” Pieter Bruyland, CIO of AB InBev's European operations, commented in an Oct. 26 public statement.
The new pilot program will take off in 2021, according to the statement. Using a QR code, France-based Leffe beer customers will be able to see the entire supply chain journey of the barley used within each pack of beer. Blockchain company SettleMint built the initiative's platform.
Ab InBev has investigated a number of blockchain applications over the past year or so. One such initiative used blockchain to verify the age of vending machine users, allowing for teller-less alcohol purchases. In early 2020, the entity also ushered in blockchain for its dealings with African ingredient suppliers, easing data and information management.
A majority of the people who grow AB InBev's ingredients, including international farmers, interact directly with the giant, the statement said. The fresh blockchain initiative "is designed for the remaining 40% of its indirect farmers, many of whom are located in European countries such as France, Germany, and the UK."
Bruyland explained, “By connecting players across the beer supply chain – from farmers, malting cooperatives, breweries, warehouses and carriers – to one secure, decentralized platform we can increase traceability and gather data that will help us to continue to grow the finest ingredients for our beers sustainably.”
Ab InBev is not the first ale provider to delve into blockchain. Heineken capitalized on the technology's supply chain potential in early 2019. A number of other mainstream companies have also looked into blockchain for supply chain management, including Walmart.