UK-based online beer platform Honest Brew has added bitcoin to its list of payment methods.
The company specialises in craft beers from its own and guest breweries – including quirky labels like Weird Beard, BrewDog and Pressure Drop – and is now very likely the first online alcohol merchant to sell directly to the bitcoin-wielding public.
Andrew Reeve, Honest Brew's CEO, said:
"As the first online platform [for alcoholic products] to offer payment by bitcoin, we are hoping the community gets behind it."
Honest Brew was started up in London by Reeve, a New Zealander who had long been a fan of both home-brewed beer and bitcoin.
In 2013, Reeve graduated to commercial-scale brewing at Late Knights Brewery in South London, after which he and his small team "brewed with hops flown in from New Zealand, dabbled in chilli and were even convinced [...] to do a brew with woodlice".
More recently, marrying a love of technology and beer, Honest Brew set up its online merchant platform to allow its wares to be sampled by a wider audience across the UK and Europe.
The company's decision to accept bitcoin payments was down to this affinity for technology and an appreciation of the bitcoin community.
"Our goal is to make it easy for people to enjoy great craft beer. Bitcoin is an easy way for people to pay and it's a near-direct transaction. This fits what we are trying to achieve at Honest brew, so it makes perfect sense to accept bitcoin."
"We've followed bitcoin since the beginning," he continued. "It wasn't until our digital designer was recently offered freelance work paid in bitcoin that we really considered it for Honest Brew [...] We love the community that sits behind bitcoin and the passion they have to bring bitcoin into the mainstream market. As a tech-focused company we wanted to get behind this."
Bitcoin transactions from the Honest Brew site are processed by the BitPay platform "giving people security and peace of mind", Reeve added.
Just the tonic
While Honest Brew may be the first beer merchant to accept bitcoin online, a number of pubs and bars are now accepting bitcoin over the counter, including licensed premises in the UK, the Netherlands, and Australia.
As Honest Brew's move into cryptocurrency indicates, larger alcohol retailers are also now starting to take notice of the growing bitcoin market, and only last month, the London Distillery Company started taking the digital currency for its gin products.
When considering the move into digital currency payments, Reeve said he was not deterred by the bad press and scare stories that have plagued bitcoin in recent months:
"Bitcoin is still very new and you are bound to get some bad press. In general the community is overwhelmingly positive and we are excited to help grow it further."
Of course, there was one very important question left to ask Reeve: just what does woodlice beer taste like?
"It was a beer lead by Master Brewer Stuart Howe," he said. "It was a very small run and tasted great (no notes of 'land shrimps'). I don't think it's one you will be finding on the platform anytime soon. You had to be there for that one."
Disclaimer: CoinDesk founder Shakil Khan is an investor in BitPay.
Images via Honest Brew