Heineken hops on the Blockchain


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Technology is rapidly evolving, and blockchain is changing the way the world works and lives. Accenture helps companies identify and apply the latest tech - to drive and transform their business and remain relevant in the future. Find out more about how Accenture Technology, Heineken, TNO, and KrypC harnessed the blockchain and created a real-world application for their Brand Blonde beer in the Netherlands.

A more sustainable and transparent supply chain

Heineken recognizes that the key to increasing trust is to be as transparent as possible; the company believes that the environmental footprint of a bottle of beer should be accessible to consumers. 

Blockchain technology seemed to be a promising choice to tackle the challenge of obtaining full transparency, with hundreds of thousands of farmers in Heineken's global supply chain providing hops. For this reason, Heineken, Accenture, TNO and KrypC teamed up to assess the applicability and promise of applying blockchain technology to meet the objective: to capture the origin of the beer's agricultural ingredients and in doing so - being able to provide the bottle's environmental footprint.

  • heineken bottle with ice around it

Hyperledger fabric

For the pilot, a batch of hops used in one of Heineken's regional Dutch brands, Brand Blond beer, was traced using a blockchain. 

The essential ingredient of Brand Blonde beer is hops: its unique flavor is given by five different varieties of hops combined. One of these hops was chosen for the pilot as the agricultural product to follow and trace via the blockchain. This enabled the project team to model the supply chain on the blockchain - and thereby capture environmental data like water and fuel consumption. 

A private blockchain was set up, consisting of four nodes built on the open source blockchain platform Hyperledger Fabric. Hyperledger Fabric allows enterprise blockchain platforms to develop blockchain-based products and solutions. After the set up of the nodes, a business process flow was created on top of this, reflecting the process of growing the hops all the way to the actual bottling of the actual Brand beer in the brewery.

Overall, using Hyperledger Fabric to create a blockchain-based platform enabled full transparency around the creation of the beer!

Full transparency

Thanks to the pilot, scanning the QR code on the bottle showed the exact location and year in which the hops were cultivated, as well as their carbon and water footprint - an enormous step forward into developing full transparency. 

The project aimed to test the technology's ability to capture the origin and environmental footprint from agriculture, meaning different actors in the supply chain had to provide the data. Nevertheless, results also demonstrated real potential for: 

  • providing consumers with detailed and reliable information,
  • further identify the opportunities for reducing our environmental footprint across the entire supply chain. 

Adding to the above potential applications, additional opportunities emerged for growing supply chain efficiency, including the possibility to present consumers with insights into the journey of their beer. 

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