Degen Distillery’s Tokenized Vision for Spirits Industry: Q&A With CEO, Sammy Verghese

Degen Distillery is harnessing the power of blockchain to redefine ownership, engagement, and the very essence of what it means to enjoy a great spirit.

Today, Cryptopolitan joins Sammy Verghese, the CEO of Degen Distillery, to hear their story and discover the future of the age-old spirit industry with blockchain.

Hi Sammy, Can you give us a background about yourself and what experiences led to the start of Degen Distillery?

At the age of 18, I co-founded my first venture in the Oil & Gas sector whilst completing a law degree, successfully growing the company’s revenue to $30 million through strategic moves such as securing substantial bank loans for a fleet of ships. However, facing challenges amid market fluctuations, I experienced a forced exit.

Subsequently, I embarked on co-founding a Web2 marketplace, which hit 30,000 users in its first month and co-founded one of the UK’s fastest-growing events companies, hosting 650 events annually by the end of the second year. Additionally, I then took over and revitalised a struggling music venue/nightclub, elevating it to become one of the top five music venues in the UK, collaborating with renowned artists like Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox, Chase & Status, Stormzy, Idris Elba and others.

In a series of successful turnarounds, I took charge of failing pubs/restaurants, immediately turning them around and helped orchestrate the transformation of a struggling music festival from 6,000 to 15,000 tickets. In 2017, I entered the world of Crypto, moving full-time in April 2020. 

The inception of Degen Distillery diverges from conventional business narratives. As no good story starts with “I had a glass of milk”, ours was a result of a few too many drinks on a Mexican beach, leading to the vision of a new kind of spirits company.

During this moment, my business partner and longtime friend, Tom, proposed; 

“Why don’t we combine our hospitality and tech experience to launch a Distillery we can co-create with thousands of community members across the world?”

…and that is where Degen Distillery was born. 

This wasn’t to be just another brand in the crowded marketplace but a pioneer at the intersection of traditional distilling and blockchain. Driven by the ethos of collective creation and ownership, Degen Distillery was crafted from the ground up with the input and collaboration of the very community it serves. 

Our beginnings are rooted in this collaborative spirit, setting the stage for a company driven by innovation – not iteration, community engagement, and the redistribution of value back to those who contribute.

How would you describe Degen Distillery to the average person?

We are a crowd-created and community-driven spirits brand, partnered with $2 billion industry titans BrewDog and Google. We act as a “social distribution” project and empower our community members to play a decisive role in determining when and where Degen’s distilled products are distributed, as well as allowing community members to take part in the design process of the brand and products.  

Through our technology, we are not only delivering the structures of the future but also providing our community with the means to accumulate next-generational wealth and gain recognition.

We blend the digital and physical, leverage a passionate community, and make holding the NFT more appealing than selling. 

As part of Google’s involvement, we will have access to Google Cloud credits, a Web3 business community, funding, Google’s unparalleled network, and Google’s technical support team.

If you’re keen to be involved in the community, visit www.degendistillery.com.

Are your products market-ready? How and who can purchase it?

We’ve cultivated a robust partnership with BrewDog, boasting a market capitalization of $2 billion. This collaboration spans international production and logistics, immediate listings in over 130 BrewDog venues worldwide, including Las Vegas’ largest rooftop bar, access to a substantial pool of 250,000 direct-to-consumer (DTC) customers, robust marketing and PR support, supermarket listing assistance, and more. 

BrewDog mirrors our brand values, embodying a commitment to community, fair value distribution, and a fervent dedication to disruption. Not only that but as the most successful equity crowdfunded business in the world, with 250,000+ shareholders, they understand the power of community. 

To be part of the degeneration, you need to hold an ORIGO Origin. With an exceedingly limited number of ORIGO Origins ever in circulation, you can acquire one through Opensea at https://opensea.io/collection/origo-origins.

As a member, you’ll unlock a myriad of perks and benefits, positioning yourself at the forefront of the future of brands. Some of these exclusive benefits include the right to claim additional NFTs representing the 721 physical Collector Edition bottles. You have the freedom to choose whether to exchange the NFT for a tangible bottle, retain the digital version, or sell it to another collector. The power of choice is in your hands; choose wisely.

What specific pain points in the traditional spirits industry do you see Degen Distillery addressing? This could be in areas like production, distribution, marketing, or consumer engagement.

The challenge we are tackling at Degen Distillery revolves around launching a physical product to a global online audience.

Our solution to this challenge is a business model called “Social Distribution”, using our tech – the Tokenized Affiliate Protocol (TAP). TAP tokenizes the contributions of creators, allowing them to own financial benefits from the value they bring to the table. At Degen Distillery, we invite individuals and companies to infuse their creativity into our venture, whether through unique bottle designs, music for advertising, or other contributions to product promotion and distribution.

Unlike some other affiliate programs that reward users with pounds and pence or dollars and cents or cryptocurrency tokens susceptible to market fluctuations, we take a different approach. We capture the lifetime value of an account brought on by an individual, and by attaching that account to their NFT, we allow our members to own that revenue stream forever. 

Looking ahead, we’re excited to introduce the $DRINK token to our ecosystem too, equipped with a range of features designed to benefit everyone involved in our business model. It’s an integral part of our commitment to fostering a thriving and mutually beneficial community.

As the “first spirits brand powered by next-gen technology,” do you envision Degen Distillery inspiring a broader paradigm shift among spirits brands?

Our mission is to shake up the $780 billion global alcohol market as a test case before expanding our model across multiple industries. Through our sophisticated model, our structures will allow for next-generation wealth creation for our community and every user on our platform.

Can you elaborate on the unique features and utilities of the ORIGO Origin NFT?

Becoming a part of the Degeneration involves acquiring an ORIGO Origin. Owning an ORIGO Origin grants you exclusive access beyond the velvet rope, unlocking a cascade of advantages and positioning you at the forefront of a groundbreaking era for brands.

We’re redefining what an NFT can be through pioneering use cases of ERC-6551, allowing our ORIGO Origins to become their own smart contract wallets – similar to a metamask, for example. 

Possessing your ORIGO Origin allows the holder first access to our technology – TAP, as well as multiple other benefits, including an ability to license any other NFT in the holder’s wallet for use on our bottles, access to limited editions collector edition bottles, access to events, access to exclusive partnership bottles and artist edition bottles and much much more to be announced. 

How is the Degen Distillery community structured, and how do ORIGO Origin holders contribute to its co-creation?

Joining the community is as simple as holding an ORIGO Origin or staking a certain amount of $DRINK (more info coming soon). We will release further opportunities in the future to expand our community, but the pinnacle will always remain ORIGO Origins and $DRINK.

Holders will be able to access token-gated areas of our platform to join in on co-creation, from designing bottle labels and spirit recipes to licensing their NFTs and assets to collaborating on marketing campaigns and strategy. 

Web3 is the power of incentives across a wide range of demographics. We’re looking to truly harness the capabilities and skillsets of our community of creators, innovators & disruptors. 

Degen Distillery also utilises a token, $DRINK. Can you talk more about it? Is there potential for $DRINK integration with other Web3 platforms outside the Degen Distillery ecosystem?

The $DRINK token serves as the backbone of our community. The multifaceted use case of the $DRINK token is the key to unlocking a number of benefits in both the digital and tangible world. Designed as the ultimate utility unlock within our digital experiences, physical venues and partner events. $DRINK will be at the heart of our global growth plans.

To avoid the arcade effect of many tokens, we are partnering with a whole host of Web3 and Web2 brands as well as IRL locations to provide an expansive range of utility for our community. 

Degen is partnered with Brewdog and Google. How do their strengths complement Degen Distillery’s goals?

The partnership with Brewdog spans international production and logistics and immediate listings in over 120 venues worldwide, giving us access to a substantial pool of 250,000 customers. They are also supporting us with robust marketing and PR, supermarket listing assistance, and more. 

The Google partnership further propels the brand through a “series of announcements” to be forthcoming via Google’s Web3 startup programme. As part of the programme, Degen will have access to Google Cloud credits, Google’s technical support team, a private community of the top Web3 businesses, access to funding, and Google’s unparalleled network.

Are there any future plans for Degen Distillery that you can share?

It’s ambitious, but we want to really leverage our technology to become the world’s fastest-growing spirits brand. 

Due to our innovative approach, we’ve already been able to close partnerships with the likes of Google & BrewDog. As with all partnerships, you have to wait until the opportune time to announce, as well as for the other party to be able to support the announcement. So we can’t release too much more on who else we’re working with. 

However, future plans include growing that partnership base to allow us to rapidly grow the brand as well as expand our community through innovative new ways whilst also growing our real-world footprint across tier 1 global festivals, events as well as our own venues and events. 

All of this allows Degen Distillery to become the global test case for our technology. We aim to have hundreds of thousands of businesses across the world also leveraging our platform. 

We’re shooting for the stars.

Any closing thoughts?

One of the distinct value propositions of our model is forecastable and sustainable rapid growth that’s not dependent on the bull market or bear market and short-lived hype cycles. Our ability to rapidly grow revenues through physical product sales allows us to grow outside of general crypto market conditions. That’s why we’re building both a tech-enabled Distillery and a full tech company at the same time. We’ve learned from the mistakes of countless others who have walked this path and relied on the price of Bitcoin or Ethereum going up forever. 

We’re now looking to expand our community to begin the rollout of the Distillery. We’re driven by innovation, not iteration, and we’re looking for individuals who don’t only seek the next big thing but want to help co-create it. If that’s you, then we welcome you to join the Degeneration. 

The information provided does not, and is not intended to, constitute financial advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. Information may not constitute the most up-to-date information and readers must do their own due diligence and assume responsibility for their own actions. Links to other third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; Cryptopolitan and its members do not recommend or endorse contents of the third-party sites.

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Ibiam Wayas

Ibiam is an optimistic crypto journalist. Five years from now, he sees himself establishing a unique crypto media outlet that will breach the gap between the crypto world and the general public. He loves to associate with like-minded individuals and collaborate with them on similar projects. He spends much of his time honing his writing and critical thinking skills.

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