Have an idea what kind of beer you like but need help finding a new craft brew made locally? There’s an app for that — or rather, there will be soon.
Draught Pick is a mobile app under development and due for beta test in August and a release as early as October. The owners say it will home in on local craft beers based on input from users about their search radius, preferred styles, alcohol level and bitterness.
You can also filter breweries by those offering curbside pickup, direct delivery, food or outdoor seating.
A pared-down version of the app is available now at their website, which the developers launched during the COVID-19 pandemic in the hopes of helping out local brewers by showcasing their beers and providing info to consumers about how to get it.
“We’re trying to help as many people as we can, but also to introduce ourselves,” said co-founder Mike Moore.
Once it’s complete, the app will allow users to find new beers based on their own unique palate, reference their tasting history and rank the beers they’ve tried. All that data will be used in an algorithm designed to make additional recommendations based on the app’s growing understanding of an individual consumer’s preferences.
Unlike the popular app Untappd, Draught Pick will focus on individual rankings, rather than generalized ratings. It also has a focus on local craft beer.
Moore and Len Morrissey, former executives at RAPID Manufacturing in Nashua, started the company two years ago with partners Heather Gass and Mike’s brother Rob Moore. RAPID sold to Minnesota-based Protolabs for $120 million in 2017 when Morrissey was president and CFO.
Mike Moore lives in Merrimack, and Morrissey divides his time between Winthrop, Mass. and Buffalo, New York.
The plan is to launch the app for New Hampshire and Massachusetts breweries at first. According to the Brewers Association, there were 175 craft breweries in the Bay State in 2019 and 91 in the Granite State.
After that, the plan is to branch out into Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut, and some test areas of New York.
After they complete a New England expansion, they hope to scale up for the rest of the country.
The headquarters will be located in New Hampshire, and they hope to open an office space with about two or three staff programmers sometime in the next six months.
“If we’re going to do it right in New England, we’re going to do it right everywhere else,” Morrissey said.
It will be free to use for consumers, while brewers, restaurants and eventually retailers will have an option to pay a monthly fee for “partnership,” which comes with added benefits such as promotional placement of their products in the app.
So far, the partners are self-financing the project, and they don’t foresee a need to open it up for outside fundraising down the road.
“This is our baby,” Moore said. “We have an idea of what this thing could be and we really want it to succeed the way we want it to succeed.”
Morrissey said they’ve spent less than $50,000 on development so far, but have done in-kind programming, legal, marketing, research and media work valued closer to $500,000 if they had to hire outside firms or consultants.
Over the past decade, the number of craft breweries has ballooned from less than 1,000 to over 8,000, Morrissey said.
“Obviously, the craft brewery industry has really expanded,” Morrissey said. “The issue with that, of course, is it’s so fragmented.”
Morrissey said it’s their hope to bring all the information about the thousands of new and existing beer varieties, which is spread across various company websites and social media accounts, into one single clearinghouse.
The goal is to launch the app in October, but that may change depending on how things play out with the pandemic and economic circumstances in the coming months.
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