98 Bottles of Beer on My App

4 12 2010

As my readers now know by virtue of yesterday’s blog, I live at the corner of Paradigm and Shift. It’s a tough gig. Someone’s gotta do it. There’s a ton of traffic competing for my attention, and I cannot possibly see every single thing that comes along.

But something interesting did catch my eye a couple of weeks ago. And it was all because of a former student of mine. One with whom I share a passion: Good beer.

Yes, my loyal readers, in case you were wondering where I am going with this, there is now a social network for beer lovers. Welcome to the pub of good cheer. Bartender, another round for the house! It’s on me. Roll out the barrel, it’s time to get Untappd.

Not exactly a site for folks who consume mass quantities of whatever was on sale, Untappd is a beer snob’s best friend. Or, as Mashable characterizes it, a “Foursquare for beer lovers.” Naturally, it fully integrates with Facebook, as well as Twitter and Foursquare. Beer lovers can check in, post what they are consuming, and share it with their fan base. Drink socially, in other words.

Hallelujah, there’s an app for that.

Frivolous? Maybe. A little bit too niche-oriented? Possibly. Great place to find out about exotic brews you’ve never tasted before? Absolutely!

At its core, Untappd is a lot like GetGlue. Both are situational social networking sites. Of course, it gets complicated if you are (a) reading Whiter Shades of Pale, while sipping a (b) Horny Toad Cerveza at (c)Tap Werks in the Bricktown district of Oklahoma City. That’s a lot of checking in to do.

Of course, users can choose how much they wish to share. I use Untappd only to log unique beers I have tried. Once I’ve tasted and posted, that’s it for that varietal. But I must confess it gave me great pleasure to not only post that Horny Toad, but also be the first to post anything from this fine little Oklahoma City craft brewery.

It’s kind of like bragging rights. I may not be mayor (like in Foursquare), but I am the Finder of the Beer.

The business side of me, though, senses that this site is probably more about fun than it is making money. At the end of the month, bills must be paid, which means there must be a revenue stream. Monetization. Cha-ching. Unless Untappd can partner with breweries and brew pubs, this site will forever be a fun diversion, and nothing more.

And most of those little breweries we beer snobs love to boast about finding are cash-strapped. Not exactly the deep pockets needed to make this project foam over the edge.

Of course, enough data collected over the long haul could be used to sell to advertisers, and if they aren’t already bled dry by advertising on FB, GetGlue and the rest, maybe they will consider this niche market.

For me, I’m just interested in hearing about (and trying) something different. My glass is empty. And you know what they say about 5:00.

Maybe I should get through breakfast and lunch first, though. I’m not in college anymore.

Dr “Hop To It” Gerlich


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