Top Shelf International is selling agave plants via NFTs ahead of production in Queensland

The agave plants that are being sold by TSI will be turned into spirits down the track.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor
Image: TSI

The plant responsible for producing tequila and mezcal is currently being grown on a North Queensland farm and will be used by Australian-based distiller Top Shelf International (TSI) for mass production, which is slated to begin in mid-2023.

To get ahead of that process, TSI has distributed 100 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to allow "people close to the organisation" to pre-purchase some agave plants that may eventually be turned into spirits down the track.

"We thought what a great way to introduce people to the brand which hasn't quite been released yet, but we actually want to give people some rights," TSI executive chairman Adem Karafili told ZDNet during Alibaba's 11.11 Global Shopping Event media roundtable on Thursday.

"What you'll end up with is the rights to 10 [agave] plants, which will give you around 50 bottles, as well as a 10-litre spirit. Each one of those will have its own distillation and very much personalised, so it'll be under the master brand, of course, but there'll be some personalisation aspect that go along with that. We can age it for you or you can have it in the black oak [barrel].

"We just found [NFTs] was a great way that people can actually own something well in advance of being able to get the bottle, to build some excitement, and we'll give them a VIP experience so they'll be able to come visit the farm and see their plants," Karafili added.

"We have drone footage already, so they can choose their plants and they'll get to watch their plants as they grow over the next 18 months."

More than 230,000 agave plants have already been planted at the 400-hectare Eden Lassie farm.

"We just thought bringing an element of technology was a great way to introduce provenance and the terroir, and really connect people with the ground in which the plants are being grown," Karafili said.

TSI's Australian agave project also comprises a R&D partnership with Adelaide University to develop a proprietary process to harvest agave and then covert it to fermentable sugar.

Also on Thursday, Tess Rinearson, formerly VP of engineering at Interchain Foundation based on her online profile, took to Twitter to announce that she has been appointed to lead a new team at the social media company that will serve as a "centre of excellence" for all things blockchain, including crypto and other decentralised technologies. 

The team, to be known as Twitter Crypto, will be working to figure out how Twitter can leverage crypto and vice versa.

"Twitter truly 'gets' crypto (hello bitcoin tipping & NFTs!) but there's so much more to explore here," she wrote.

"First, we'll be exploring how we can support the growing interest among creators to use decentralized apps to manage virtual goods and currencies, and to support their work and communities.

"Looking farther ahead, we'll be exploring how ideas from crypto communities can help us push the boundaries of what's possible with identity, community, ownership, and more."

Twitter Crypto will also work closely with Twitter-sponsored initiative Bluesky to "help shape the future of decentralized social media", Rinearson said. 

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