Two big digital consumer forces focused on craft beer are teaming up. Wilmington-based software company Next Glass is expanding its beer portfolio beyond its Untappd mobile phone app and geosocial networking service with the acquisition of certain assets of BeerAdvocate, including the popular www.beeradvocate.com website. This means two of the biggest beer rating outlets have combined. Todd Alström, cofounder of BeerAdvocate, sadly noted the challenges of running and maintaining such a big venture.
“We’ve been struggling to keep the lights on for over two years, and we still face some challenges, but I’m confident that this is the best path for all of us. Next Glass is committed to not only helping BeerAdvocate, but passionate about protecting and cultivating our unique culture, identity, and community.
Craft Brewing Business continues as an independently run, entrepreneurial business, and we certainly understand the difficulties of running a big operation with a few passionate people.
Next Glass was quick to note the beer pages on BeerAdvocate would remain unaltered and that both brands will maintain their own distinct and separate platforms and brands. Next Glass did note that it plans to “invest in new features and team members to benefit the BeerAdvocate community” in the press release. There’s another cool aspect here: A festival-heavy online portal is now being backed by a software and app developer that connects people, so the results should be interesting.
This is the latest move for Next Glass, which is an app that uses “science” to predict how much you will enjoy a bottle of beer or wine. It merged with Untappd in 2016. Interesting sidebar: ZX Ventures, the venture capital arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev, completed its purchase of RateBeer last February, so these beer rating outlets have seen some action.
Greg Avola, founder of Untappd, also posted a blog on the purchase:
I have a ton of respect for what the Alström brothers have built since 1996. BeerAdvocate has always been central to many conversations about beer and the brewing industry. By joining our two communities, we come together under one umbrella to continue the good fight in providing quality services to help users discover and record their experiences with great beer!
Even though we’re now on the same team, the BeerAdvocate brand will live independently of Untappd — separate sites, separate branding, and unique communities. Just like when Next Glass merged with Untappd back in January of 2016, we will keep the brand separate and integrate features that provide a great experience for users of both communities.
It’s been a tough time in the beer publishing industry overall. Last April, BeerAdvocate stopped publishing its print magazine. Also last year, All About Beer magazine filed for Chapter 7 — about two years after acquiring Draft magazine in 2017. Both now only stand as sadly vacant websites.