As August draws to a close, it seems like a good time to reflect on the trend we lived this month: craft beer. Aside from an introduction to craft beer’s social media presence, blind beer tasting and an analysis of the beer’s highly gendered marketing, we’ve also done a round-up of the top specialist beer apps. Beer apps have seen a marked increase in social media mentions in 2017, with an increase of almost 20% from this time last year. How have these beer apps tapped (no pun intended) into the existing craft beer trend to maximise their success?
Firstly, these apps have capitalised on the fact that craft beer culture naturally lends itself to social media. It’s more than just a commodity; most people’s beer-drinking habits have a strong social element. This couldn’t be indicated more clearly than by the fact that the average Twitter mentions of ‘beer’ and related topics increase from 637 to 1066 per day – that’s almost 70% – during weekends over one month, as well as a spike at Christmas (up 240%), New Year’s (224%) and St Patrick’s Day (175%). Craft beer is also a hobby for many people, which provides a growing market for more information-based, less social beer apps.
UnTappd is the biggest player on the beer app scene, functioning as a beer-centric social network through which users can see what their friends are drinking and share their own favourite brews. With 7 million-plus users, UnTappd is a network to be reckoned with, and its social media impressions give us some telling data on the demographics of beer app users. Almost 90% of its 4,000-plus Facebook page ‘Likes’ come from men, suggesting that while a growing number of women are proud beer-drinkers, they are less likely to use it as a medium for socialising than men. 85% of those interested in UnTappd on Facebook are also interested in breweries – that’s compared to 60% which are interested in mainstream pubs – suggesting a user preference for craft beer over cheaper mass-produced brands.
Not all beer apps put socialising front and centre, though. On the more information-based end of the spectrum are apps such as TapHunter (with about half a million downloads) and Next Glass (over 50,000 downloads). TapHunter uses location data to tell you where your next pint is coming from, while Next Glass help users find beers they may like based on their existing tastes. Meanwhile, Any Beer ABV tells you how much alcohol content is in your beer; BJCP Styles offers a beer-tasting education, and iBrewMaster helps you get started brewing your own beer. If all those sound a bit too serious for you, you might want to consider Beer?!, an app that lets you invite your friends out for beer with a single tap, or Pivo, which teaches you to order a beer in over 50 languages.
Without a doubt, the beer app market has grown and diversified over the past year, with an app for everyone from the casual drinker to the craft ale connoisseur. Although the rise of craft beer has been partially driven by health and financial concerns, at the end of the day, beer-drinking is still a primarily social pastime for most. And with the diversifying craft beer market opening up to more and more demographics, it’s unsurprising that these apps’ popularity has continued to rise.