Heineken's new beer is a joke, but that's not editorializing. It's a direct quote from the company.
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Heineken Silver is a virtual beer. You can't drink it because it only exists in the digital, online space called the metaverse. It's available exclusively at the company's virtual brewery in Decentraland, an immersive virtual reality platform, where it's brewed with "100% purified pixels, tripled-filtered through firewalls, and uploaded with 5 million megabits per second."
Does it sound like hogwash? You bet. And the company knows it, too. "Our new virtual beer is an ironic joke," said Bram Westenbrink, head of the company's brand. "It is a self-aware idea that pokes fun at us and many other brands that are jumping into the metaverse."
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While no one at Heineken expects beer lovers to take the company's new "brew" seriously, there are other corporations that have entered the virtual space with similarly fantastical ideas that appear to be in earnest. McDonald's, for instance, jumped on the non-fungible token trend — that's a way of manufacturing exclusivity for virtual art — and minted a limited number of McRib NFTs as contest prizes late last year.
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Companies are also filing trademarks for all kinds of things in anticipation of actually doing business in the metaverse. McDonald's filed a trademark for an online virtual restaurant that actually delivers to your home, and Panera has filed trademarks for NFTs and a metaverse rewards program. Chipotle, too, entered the metaverse with a virtual free burrito contest.
In other words, it's probably only a matter of time before you wash down a virtual-reality Big Mac with a pixelated beer. Bottoms up.