Eric Hu designs the can for a new Web3 community-created drink, aptly named Mateverse

The code-inspired project – designed for beverage brand Taika and made in collaboration with Friends with Benefits – is a further indication of how the Web3 world is coming to play a significant role in the creative industry.

28 September 2022

There’s one hot-topic in the creative world that currently seems to be on everyone's lips – the metaverse. But, have you ever wondered what it may taste like? Well, beverage brand Taika have just released a new sparkling tea – fittingly named Mateverse – that may just give you an idea.

To create and brand a drink that interacts with Web3 and such novel technologies and ideas, Taika enlisted the worldwide group of online cultural creators Friends With Benefits (FWB) and art director and designer Eric Hu. It was important for Taika that the project was a collaborative one, as co-founder Kal Freese explains: “Our motto at Taika has always been ‘for friends, by friends’. Ever since we launched in 2020 and put a phone number on our cans, people could send us feedback, share memes or ask silly questions and slowly start to build our community.” It was earlier this year when Kal was chatting with Friends With Benefits co-founders Raihan Anwar that they came to the idea of making “a product for the community, by the community”.


Taika: Mateverse (Copyright © Taika, 2022)

The way in which Taika involved the FWB community was through a survey on what drink its members would like – which concluded as “a modern spin on Club Mate”, Kal explains – and also involving them in prototype testing. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Web3 project without an NFT thrown in the mix. “The alpha group of 100 FWB members was sent two cans with different formulas, participating in Zoom tastings and based on feedback we went back to our lab to tweak before the beta NFT phase,” Kal details. “The NFT holders voted on blockchain which of the two flavours they’d prefer and the winner became the one we’re now launching to the public.”

Eric Hu, a contributor and member of the FWB community, was the natural choice to work on the project; “he’s an amazing artist and thinker whose work consistently redefines the boundaries of possibility,” Kal says. He designed both the NFT artwork and the drinks packaging. Taking a minimalistic approach, Kal describes Eric’s designs as a “cheekily nostalgic look and feel using American Standard Code for Information (ASCII) art as the main hook, while also including actual Solidity code – the language used to program smart contracts in Ethereum.” The white can is detailed with code-like characters and a digitally inspired font realised in light grey lines, evocative of the way they would appear on the screens that the concept is based upon. Finished with one block of colour and a red button shape to emphasise the drinks name, the can is a brilliant example of simple yet effective design.

GalleryTaika: Mateverse (Copyright © Taika, 2022)

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Taika: Mateverse (Copyright © Taika, 2022)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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