Morning Brew - ☕ Wine of the times

The wine industry is all in on NFTs.
November 29, 2022

Retail Brew


Happy Tuesday. You didn’t come here looking for a gift guide, which is just as well, because we’re not recommending this so much as just trying to wrap our heads around the fact that it exists: the Cheetos Duster. This, the first device offered by Frito-Lay, chops up whole Cheetos to make them into Cheetos dust, aka Cheetle, the stuff that’s usually just stuck on your fingers or at the bottom of the bag. For the very stoned culinary adventurous, the brand recommends sprinkling Cheetle on items including pancakes, pickles, and s’mores.

In today’s edition:

—Maeve Allsup, Katishi Maake


Tokens on the vine

Wine bottle and two glasses surrounded by images of crypto and blockchain Bubaone/Getty Images

To outsiders, the worlds of wine and Web3 may seem an unlikely pairing—after all, the tech mantra of “move fast and break things” doesn’t exactly translate well to the years-long process of creating pricey alcoholic beverages.

Despite the odds, an interest in digitizing wine using non-fungible tokens has reached into the far corners of the industry, from high-end collectors to small brands. And those who understand both wine and NFTs say it’s not such a surprising pairing after all.

“There’s such a natural fit with the wine industry and the world of NFTs,” Avery Akkineni, president of Web3 consultancy Vayner3, told Retail Brew. “This concept of scarcity, of provenance, really matters to both industries, and I think it’s one of the reasons you’ve seen a lot of activity in the wine and spirits space.”

Old wine, new breakthroughs?

Akkineni says nobody has yet cracked the code on transforming the industry using Web3 technology, but that’s not for lack of trying, or interest.

  • In 2021, Vayner3 partnered with Napa Valley-based Robert Mondavi Winery to launch a collection of wines only available to purchasers of a connected NFT, which could then be redeemed for the wine itself.
  • The project was meant to attract a new type of luxury consumer, Akkineni explained. (The tokens were priced at $3,500, and only 1,966 bottles were made, corresponding with the year that Robert Mondavi was founded.)

Transparency and loyalty: One of the top benefits of blockchain technology for winemakers is increased opportunity to track their bottles and learn about their end consumers, explained David Garrett, co-founder of Web3 fine-wine loyalty program Club dVin.

“We think about ourselves kind of like a Shopify,” Garrett told Retail Brew. “We provide a bunch of great tools for these wineries to tokenize their wines to provide community loyalty, communications, rewards…to their most enthusiastic consumers.”

Keep reading here.—MA



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Friday flex

Black Friday calendar Francis Scialabba

Black Friday sales were up this year, but not entirely because of the stampedes of customers that are synonymous with the shopping holiday.

With inflation and fears over a looming recession, retailers leaned heavily on promotions throughout this year, and that carried over into Black Friday—both in-store and online.

US retail sales were up 12% YoY, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. In-store sales specifically increased 12%, while e-commerce sales saw a 14% YoY bump.

  • Apparel, electronics, and restaurants were the strongest categories with 19%, 4%, and 21% increases, respectively.

“With holiday promotions kicking off long before the Thanksgiving weekend, consumers have been shopping strategically for the season’s best deals,” said Michelle Meyer, North America chief economist at the Mastercard Economics Institute. “Retailers delivered on Black Friday with deals that enticed consumers to fill their carts despite the inflationary environment.”

E-commerce also flexed its muscles this year, as sales reached $9.12 billion, according to Adobe Analytics. This was a record number for the day—outpacing Adobe’s expectations—and a 2.3% increase from 2021.

  • As TechCrunch notes, however, Adobe doesn’t break out volumes, so the increases can’t be pegged to neither higher-cost items nor more purchases.

Visits to shopping malls, outlets, and open-air lifestyle centers were down YoY, but outpaced average visits throughout the year.

  • Visits to indoor malls during Black Friday were up 261% compared to the daily average for the first three quarters of 2022, according to Outlet malls and open-air lifestyle centers saw visits up 366% and 151%, respectively.
  • Compared to Black Friday 2021, visits were down 2.3% at indoor malls, down 3.9% at outlets, and down 0.5% at open-air lifestyle centers.

Keep reading here.—KM




Go with the (cash) flow: Managing your biz’s spend just isn’t vibey. Reading the details of a purchase order? Snooze. Denying an over-the-limit happy hour? Cringe. Fortunately, Teampay can help. They automate your repetitive tasks and streamline the awkward expense convos. Complete a qualified meeting before Dec. 6 and get a $100 Mastercard® reward card.* 

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Today’s top retail reads.

Slash and earn: Why even retailers who aren’t overstocked are offering deep discounts to holiday shoppers. (the Wall Street Journal)

Death mettle: How the canned water brand Liquid Death started as a joke and became a $350 billion business. (CNBC)

Computer Sam-ulation: A hologram of Walmart founder Sam Walton near the company’s Arkansas HQ that aims to inspire employees with folksy talks is having an emotional effect on some of them. “People who knew Sam get the quivering chin,” said Alan Dranow, senior director of the Walmart Heritage Group. “They get misty-eyed because of how realistic it is.” (the Washington Post)

Subscribe: Are you a marketer working in the retail industry? We have something that we think you might like. Insert: Marketing Brew—the newsletter that keeps you on top of the industry, Brew-style. Subscribe here.

Does your biz impress? In NewStore’s 2023 Omnichannel Leadership Report, shoppers assessed the omnichannel chops of 300 US brands. Was your brand one of ’em? Find out who made the list here.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.


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  • Balenciaga brand ambassador Kim Kardashian said she was “reevaluating her business ties” with the brand after it featured children holding teddy bears in bondage gear in an ad, and…
  • Balenciaga, which has had better weeks, said it plans a $25 million suit against a production company that produced an ad with a handbag placed on documents for a child pornography Supreme Court ruling.
  • TikTok is outsourcing to tech startups to try to boost its lagging e-commerce efforts.
  • Louis Vuitton will open its first furniture and housewares store in Shanghai.
  • Dayton Boots, a boot store in Vancouver, was ordered to pay workers whom it had partly paid in store gift cards more than $360,000.
  • Kraft has been named in a class-action suit over its Velveeta Shells and Cheese allegedly taking longer to prepare than the 3.5 minutes the package promises.


What happened in the world of retail this week in…1842 and beyond? Retail Brew takes you way, way, way back.

  • On December 1, 1913, the world’s first moving assembly line debuted at a Ford plant in Michigan. While it led to productivity gains and cost cuts, workers reportedly hated the update to the factory at the time.
  • On December 3, 1842, Charles Alfred Pillsbury was born. We have him to thank for those delicious, ready-to-bake crescent rolls!
  • On December 3, 1901, King C. Gillette filed a patent for the world’s first safety razor.
  • On December 4, 1954, the first Burger King opened in Miami. At the time it was called “Insta-Burger King.”


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Written by Maeve Allsup and Katishi Maake

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