Fans of craft beer are always seeking the next beer offering from their favorite brewery. Whether it is in a small batch release available exclusively at the brewery or brewpub, a seasonal release that’s only produced at a certain time of year, or a one-of-a-kind hand-crafted and hand-pumped firkin, the never-ending quest to experience new and rare beers can be dizzying. As recently as ten years ago, craft beer was localized with a very small selection of regional beers represented at bars alongside the big national breweries. If you wanted something different, you had to seek it out, often ending up at a specialty bar or a brewery.
More recently, the craft beer world has exploded and is expanding almost daily. Most restaurant menus these days have at least two or three craft beer offerings, along with the standard fizzy yellow water. But for the true craft beer lover, this is not enough and the thirst for tasting something new is never fully quenched. Like so many other industries, many craft breweries have turned to social media to promote new offerings, new distribution locations, tasting events, and even new beers before they are even available.
Additionally craft beer enthusiasts have formed their own sub-communities to log their suds, review their pints, compare notes with others and see what their friends are drinking. Websites such as BeerAdvocate.com and RateBeer.com have become invaluable resources offering reviews, news and events, as well as a forum in which beer aficionados can discuss different beers and discover others.
Untappd and a handful of others have taken this phenomenon mobile and created smartphone apps that allow craft beer fans to log beers they have tasted, rate them in a very familiar social media environment, and even see which bar is currently serving their favorite beer. With so many craft beer offerings out there and an increasing number of breweries and beer venues taking to social media, the average craft beer fan has little to no excuse for not enjoying a craft brew almost anywhere they go. Cheers!Michael Clark, Graduate Student Master of Arts in Emerging Media Loyola University Maryland