51 minutes | Jun 19th 2020

Greg Avola of Untappd

On this episode of the Beer Edge podcast, Andy Crouch speaks with Greg Avola, the co-founder of Untappd, the leading beer ratings app. Founded in 2010, Untappd jettisoned any pretenses about beer and simply presented users with a location based social networking service that allowed them to check in beers and share them with friends. Untappd’s early focus on an app instead of a flashy website presaged the dominance of cell phone based beer ratings in a way that its competitors never fully embraced. Untappd didn’t need thousands of hard core beer geeks posting lengthy beer review screeds or tapping out long posts in internet chat forums. Instead, it focused its efforts on developing and improving its app, drawing in millions of users in the process.

Back in the days when you could visit a bar, it was a pretty common sight to watch someone, whether alone or with friends, quietly tapping away at the familiar yellow hued app. Searching for the beer they were drinking, tagging the location, maybe adding a photo, and clicking on the number of bottle caps out of five that they gave the beer. In the process, users earned badges as a fun way of marking their progress and in a way almost gamifying the beer drinking process.

Untappd has come in for plenty of criticism over the years, often from brewers steaming over a negative review. Others decry the so-called “ticker” culture where pubgoers spend more time on their phones checking in beers than interacting with others around them. Putting the criticisms aside though, Untappd is undoubtedly a force in the beer industry. And this once tiny upstart has now pretty clearly won the beer ratings site wars. It even now owns BeerAdvocate, which it purchased earlier this year.

Crouch recently spoke with co-founder Greg Avola about the development and history of Untappd, how he and his partners navigated the early days and secured funding and support for its substantial growth, and how COVID-19 has impacted its plans for 2020 and the future. 
For more information on the Beer Edge Podcast, or to check out Beer Edge: The Newsletter for Beer Professionals, follow us on Twitter @thebeeredge and subscribe to our beer industry focused newsletter. There is more information, articles, and engaging content at Beer Edge.
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