Like its badge implies, Next Glass is certainly ready for another, please. The Wilmington, N.C.-based beer software company has now added Hop Culture, a top tier consumer-facing beer publication that also does merch and beer events, to its umbrella of online beer resources and services, sitting nicely next to Next Glass-owned platforms Untappd, BeerAdvocate and Oznr. Hop Culture Founder Kenny Gould can take you through all the details of the sale in this post.
Gould became impressed with Next Glass after an interview with Trace Smith, new CEO of Next Glass. Smith replaced Kurt Taylor, Next Glass founder, only earlier this year, so the process must have happened quickly. Around the same time, Providence Strategic Growth (a private equity firm focused on software- and technology-enabled service companies) made a “significant strategic investment” in Next Glass Inc. to help grow the business. Still, isn’t Next Glass just that company that owns Untappd? What drew Gould?
In our conversation, I learned that Next Glass was so much more than the Untappd app — the real goal of the company is to bring the processes involved in getting beer from producer to consumer into one cohesive ecosystem. To this end, they not only own the Untappd app, but also Untappd for Business, BeerAdvocate, and Oznr (a platform that allows breweries to manage online sales and bottle/can releases) and received an investment from PSG — the same firm that backed Top Golf, Ironman, and Hulu — to develop new products and make strategic acquisitions to further build that ecosystem.
I liked Smith. I liked his vision. And I saw value in placing Hop Culture — functionally a content and event producer — with the single largest network of beer drinkers in the world. The Untappd app alone has 8 million users, and that number doesn’t include the user base of BeerAdvocate, Oznr, or any future Next Glass acquisitions.
Hop Culture was only founded in 2017, but it’s easily become one of the best beer publications online in a time when consumer beer publications where going out of business (R.I.P. All About Beer, DRAFT and Brewing News). Craft Brewing Business continues as an independently run, entrepreneurial business, and we certainly understand the challenges of running a big operation with a few passionate people. Kudos to Hop Culture for taking it to the next level. Some factoids from the press release:
- In 2017, Hop Culture held its first Juicy Brews Craft Beer Festival in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which sold out in under ten seconds.
- The following year, Hop Culture held its first Beers With(out) Beards Festival, the world’s largest beer festival featuring only female brewers, business owners, vendors, and entrepreneurs.
- To date, Hop Culture has thrown 30+ beer festivals and maintains one of the largest craft beer Instagram accounts in the world.
- Hop Culture‘s ongoing collaborations with respected brands in the beverage alcohol space will provide opportunities to further connect with audiences of other Next Glass-owned platforms, Untappd, BeerAdvocate, and Oznr.
- Nearly every U.S. brewery and nearly 12,500 international breweries maintain their Untappd brewery pages, and Untappd for Business serves almost 4,000 breweries globally with a menu publishing software.
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