It’s pretty safe to say I’m a beer guy.
I brew my own to the best of my ability, I like to try new beers and I enjoy chatting about the beverage with people. I also like to drink them slowly and savor the taste and over the past few years have really developed my own person taste.
During that time, however, I’d sometimes forget beers I tried and enjoyed. Or, worse yet, beers I tried and disliked. There’s nothing worse than disliking a beer and then trying it some time later, just to realize you had been through that song-and-dance before.
If you don’t already know, Untappd is an application for phones and on the web where you can keep track and rate beers you try. It’s also social media as you can have friends, see their beers, follow breweries and earn badges.
Pretty sweet, huh?
I’ve been a member since late 2011, but I kind of ignored it for a while. Then, as I saw others utilizing the app through posts on Twitter and such, I dug into it more. I then wondered what the heck I hadn’t been using it for. (Feel free to check out my profile and add me, if you want!)
It’s an extremely user-friendly app with a nice interface. There are plenty of brews to discover and find on there, all while checking into the beers you sample. You can even check into locations, such as bars, breweries etc., when logging in with your beer.
You can see many things, including ratings and comments from others to places where people are drinking it. Checking out brewery pages gives you information about the brewery and its beers.
Heck, if you are a homebrewer, you can have your own brewery on there so you can have your beers there, which allows friends and family to check in and rate the beers! I have my “home brewery” listed on there.
Untappd has been live since Oct. 22, 2010 and was created by two people — Greg Avola and Tim Mather. The two are on opposite coasts — Avola in New York City and Mather in Los Angeles, but that is likely what helped the two bring this app to the masses.
Avola said Mather came up with the idea of checking into beers and sharing with friends.
“Since we are on opposites of the coasts, we though it would be a great tool to facilitate the sharing and discovering of beer in a Foursquare-like setting,” Avola said. “The idea behind the app was to help connect people with beer. Right now, beer is a very social activity, but had never been presented in that way on the web before. With the app, we encourage users to try and discover new beers, venues and people to enhance their beer experience.”
And with microbrews, craft beers and so many others involved in beer, beer conventions and all things beer related, this app appears to have come along at the right time.
Avola said there are about 850,000 users at this point, which, considering it’s the two of them working part-time without an advertising budget, is an extremely solid number. Untappd is on iOS platforms, Android, Windows Phone 8, Blackberry 10, Mobile Web and, of course, on a desktop. So it’s easy enough to use the app from almost anywhere.
So, let’s dig into the app a little.
First and foremost, Untappd is a place where people can not only keep track of their own beers, but it’s also a social app where people can view, comment and toast friend’s choices. Checking in will also allow you to earn badges, much like social apps Foursquare and GetGlue.
There are many badges to earn, from the amount of beers you have tried, to the types of beer, the times you’ve had them and many other things. There are special badges as well, such as checking in with certain beers at a beer festival, or checking into a beer on selected holidays. Some of these badges are only out for a limited time.
“Most of all the badges come from users,” Avola said. “We believe that if users are requesting them, we should make them! We review all badge submissions and find out what badges work the best with our platform and then go from there.”
Though Avola said Untappd doesn’t usually provide data about what badges are tops on the claimed list, he said many of the style-based badges are tops. As for the ones that are the rarest? Many times, he said, it’s badges that were made early in the process, such as “Frat Party” or “Risk Taker.”
Outside of the special ones, most badges stick around, unless there are certain issues.
“We only retire badges if they are not doing well, or cause technological issues,” Avola said.
Take for example the “Above the Clouds” badge. It’s hard to add your location as a plane when you are 30,000 feet in the air.
The social aspect is taken extra steps, too, when there are Meetups. Though there aren’t numbers as to how many of these have been done, Untappd does have a Meetup page where users can organize their own events.
“I haven’t (been to one of these events), but we have had parties to celebrate our anniversary and they have been a big hit with connecting users with each other and discovering and talking about beer,” Avola said.
One thing to remember is the app is free to use. Therefore, there are ways for users to give back, should they choose to do so. One way is by being a supporter, which costs $5 per month, $25 for six months or $50 for the year. By doing so, you not only help the app but you get some extra perks, such as personalized stats, exportable data, a support banner on your profile, and a supporter only badge.
Eventually, Avola said, the Untappd crew hopes to add some extra benefits for supporters.
“As we continue to build the services, we will offer more features for supporters,” he said. “Basically, we have had this program so users can help us grow. Since we are not funded, and working part-time, we need capital to keep the service up and running at a high volume. This program helps us do that.”
They also sell some merchandise, including t-shirts, which sold out within 36 hours for the latest batch. Avola said he is hoping to have more soon, as well as new logo shirts by the end of the month. While the focus now is shirts, Avola said they’d like to eventually have items such as coasters and glassware in the store.
So Untappd is a great social network where people can keep track of beers, but there’s one other item — breweries.
Whether a major brewery or a craft brewery or a home brewery, you can be listed on the site. And if you are somebody with the power, you can “claim” the brewery and make it official. Giving this option allows breweries to connect with users, manage the brand and analyze statistics.
“The key thing is the ability to directly communicate with their fans,” Avola said. “This usually exists on Twitter now, but by pulling it into one platform, it gives them the opportunities to do so much more.”
And having home breweries on there is important as well.
“Home breweries sometimes turn in to a real brewery, so why not give them the same features?” Avola said. “People love to categorize their brews, so we think Untappd is a good spot for that.”
So if you’re a beer drinker and like to keep track of things, Untappd might be the way to go. The userface is easy and fun and you can find some great things with the app.
There are social media apps for so many things, so why not beer?
The best part is Avola and Mather don’t seem to be resting on what they have. Avola said they plan on continuing to grow the app.
“Our goal to complete change the beer industry with technology,” Avola said. “We want Untappd to be a tool for breweries, venues and consumers to help breweries find their customers, users to find the beer they want to try, and venues to tell users where that beer is.”
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