PR: Everledger launches anti-tamper bottle closures for the wine and spirits industry

Everledger is pleased to announce its new lineup of anti-tamper bottle closures for the wine and spirits industry. In response to the growing challenge of counterfeit alcohol in the world — estimated at US$3 billion globally just for wine — these intelligent caps unite blockchain and Near Field Communication (NFC) tags to help brands protect the authenticity of their assets. The launch of these smart closures is a defining moment to protect producers, retailers and auction houses against fraudsters.

In addition to the NFC-enabled closures, Everleder is now offering ways in which a QR code can be better authenticated on its own, or work in tandem with NFC. While QR codes on labels have been on the market for years to direct customers to curated digital experiences on their mobile phones, the Everledger solution offers higher levels of security against counterfeiting.

How does the Everledger solution work?

Each bottle is given a unique digital identity via either NFC-powered tamper detection labels adhered to the bottle cap, or other NFC devices such as plastic heat-shrink capsules, stickers, or cork tags. With each bottle being secured with the latest anti-tamper device, chain-of-custody data can then be captured all along the supply chain through the supporting blockchain technology.

From there, the authenticated provenance of the wine or spirit is tracked, enabling consumers to discover the lifetime journey of their favourite drink — from vineyard to glass. This intelligent provenance invites the customer to connect to the producer’s overall brand story, all with a tap of their smartphone.

The closures are highly secure Near Field Communication tags applied on labels or heat-shrink capsules, which come transparent or in a range of colours. NFC labels can be applied on aluminium as well as on glass or paper and are fully customisable. Applying labels on caps of vintages in storage is a very convenient process that won’t disrupt a winery’s normal bottling or distribution process. The heat-shrink NFC capsule will align with existing production processes.

Brands can also invest in an NFC Wet Inlay, which is supplied on a reel with adhesive backing that can be applied to the back of a wine label or used as the basis for a separate label. Another option is the use of NFC long-tail cork tags, which are applied over the cork and attached to the glass, to protect against needle attack.

These NFC tags are encoded in a protected environment and deliver an extremely high level of encryption. Everledger utilises ‘rolling code’ technology in our NFC tags, which performs similarly to a one time password mechanism when using a banking token. When a tag is scanned, it authenticates and then directs to the wine’s landing page through a one time URL supported by the phone’s NFC protocol. This makes the page nearly impossible to counterfeit, especially if matched with a tamper trigger in the tag to prevent substitution and re-use, as well as with the additional security layer of the Everledger platform underpinned by blockchain technology.

“Everledger combines over 20 years of experience in RFID/NFC and asset management with the immutability and secure verification of blockchain,” emphasises Scott Austin, Everledger’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chair of the IoT committee at AIM. “Our wine solution is a prime example of how to utilise highly secure NFC in unison with blockchain. It’s providing a robust and scalable solution for brand owners.”

What are the benefits?

Greater visibility allows brands to drive more sales by interacting directly with customers through each bottle and by driving online to offline consumer engagement. Brands can tell authenticated stories that showcase origin and brand narrative — and protect their reputation at the same time. In addition, brands can accelerate their path to market by creating digital identities for their bottles so that regional certifiers and government agencies can verify wine much faster.

Since China’s leading internet services provider Tencent invested in Everledger last year, developing applications for WeChat has been one of the key focus areas for the company. Forward-thinking wine and spirits brands can take advantage of the scale of WeChat Mini Programs, potentially reaching the one billion active users of the platform, to drive further online customer engagement, using authenticated provenance data about each one of their bottles.

The Everledger platform offers more than simply protection of legitimacy. Brands can help Chinese consumers learn more about the journey of their wine and build an engaging story for consumers to share with their loved ones on social media. Details range from origin, characteristics and previous owners to certifications of organic growing and sustainable harvest methods, variety designation, geographic pedigree and carbon footprint.

Everledger founder and CEO Leanne Kemp said: “Much in the same way as a good story captivates all of us, the Everledger platform enables brands to tell the authentic back-story of every bottle of wine or spirits to discerning consumers. The power and simplicity of our solution gets to the truth in a way that consumers truly value, enabling a more sustainable and transparent industry to flourish.”

“When wine or spirits are adulterated or falsely labelled, reputations built on craft, origin, and quality are quickly tarnished,” added Mrs Kemp. “Lack of transparency throughout the wine and spirits supply chains leaves them vulnerable to counterfeiting, impacting consumer confidence and restricting brand equity.”

Notes for editors

Nearly a third of alcoholic drinks are mislabelled, counterfeit or fake, according to the International Center for Alcohol Policies. A report by the Comité National des Conseillers du Commerce Extérieur de la France (CNCCEF), linked to the French Secretary of State, claimed that every second bottle of French wine sold in China is counterfeit. Estimates place the global worth of the counterfeit wine ‘industry’ at as much as $3 billion.

“For every real bottle of French wine in China, there is at least one counterfeit bottle of French wine, and the situation is only getting worse,” according to James de Roany, former president of the CNCCEF Wine & Spirits commission and a business consultant.

Everledger was the world’s first company to secure a wine bottle’s provenance on the blockchain, a 2001 Margaux, back in 2016. Everledger works closely with clients all along the supply chain, from growers to merchants and into broader retail, with the goal of building ever more authenticity in the wine and spirits industry.

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