PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- In a nation where breweries number in the thousands and barroom taplists can stretch into the dozens, what beer lovers drink and where they drink it matters.
Apps such as Pintley function as a beer Amazon, stocked with recommendations that point beer drinkers toward their next favorite style or brand. Untappd has become beer's FourSquare, with users snapping pictures of their pints, checking in their drinking locations and loading up on badges for beer-based accomplishments. That's all lovely, but it sits on a pile of data that brewers, bar managers, distributors and bottle shop owners would love.
Slowly, those data are starting to leach out. San Diego-based TapHunter maintains a database of more than 30,000 unique beers with the express purpose of helping beer drinkers find them at their local bars, restaurants, supermarkets, bottle shops and elsewhere. In core markets including and surrounding San Diego, Los Angeles and Anaheim, Calif., Phoenix, Ariz., Denver, Seattle, Atlanta and St. Louis, the folks behind TapHunter open their app to breweries to ensure that beer names, availability, alcohol content, bitterness and other valuable data are displayed clearly and accurately. That's just fine for brewers and beer drinkers, but it works out particularly well for bars and restaurants (on-premise accounts) as well as grocers and bottle shops (off-premise locations) all trying to stay on top of a notoriously fickle craft beer market.
"Those are all of the valuable pieces that the on- and off-premise accounts are looking for because they don't have the time to spend searching around Google and BeerAdvocate for all that info," says Melani Gordon, chief executive and co-founder of TapHunter. "What we discovered was that the brands wanted to make sure that information was correct not only for consumers, but for on- and off-premise accounts."
This is what beer data looks like. Bars, restaurants and shops update their offerings through TapHunter -- which, in turn, updates app listings, social media feeds and even in-house digital menus in real time -- and watch their account's stats page for trending information. The app keeps a rolling 30-day archive of which beers are trending in the surrounding area, as well as the beers that are drawing app users to a particular bar or restaurant. Whether it's Russian River's Pliny The Elder or a brewpub's everyday IPA drawing the masses, the app takes note and tells businesses what's working and what isn't.