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Thread: Untappd... Meet me at Camera 3

  1. #1
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    Untappd... Meet me at Camera 3

    It's fair to say that Untappd is a hugely popular resource for craft beer lovers and can be a great way to reach our customers. There's a whole lot to like about it!

    It can also be frustrating as hell.

    So I figure, we talk about what we as brewers and salestypes like and dislike about it, then maybe point Untappd this direction, and then everyone's lives get better. Hooray!

    I'll start:

    Things I like:

    - Greater access to information to consumers about my beers. ABV, IBU, descriptions... Provided I add that for each and every new beer we make. Which I don't. Because ain't nobody got time for dat. But still. The More You Know...

    - Interaction: It's nice to be able to Toast people who like your beers. I like you too, cheers mate!

    - Lets me know when my accounts have tapped my kegs. The. Single. Best. Thing. About. Untappd. Period. That is, for small brewers irritated that a bar has been sitting on their keg for six months. I also like to know which of my accounts get the most Untappd activity, because I'm more likely to offer them some weird one-off if I know people will talk about it and appreciate it.

    Things I don't like:

    - The 1-5 rating system. Statistically, the vast bell curve of us will end up with a 3.6ish. It's meaningless. Unless:

    - Astroturfing, thumbing the scale, releasing the Army of Internet Flying Monkeys, etc.. Goose Island's Bourbon County has a 4.79 avg across three thousand people. Three thousand people can barely reach 51% agreement during an election nowadays, let alone a near-unanimous vote on a beer. It's like Grandma always said "Three people can agree on a pizza, if two of them are dead." And seven Goose Island barrel beers on the Top Rated page? Is there some enormous Midwest Bourbon County Cult I am unaware of? In which case, by all means, "Bourbon for the Bourbon God!!!" (Please don't hurt me...)

    - Feedback can be good but let's face it, this is the Internet. I like hearing that people like my beers, and I REALLY like hearing if people think something is wrong with any of them. One "Meh" I'll ignore, but a pattern starts developing and I take a look. Maybe one of my accounts needs a talkin' to. Maybe I've got a faulty keg stem out there. Or a batch went out with wonky carbonation or something. Thanks for the tip, Anonymous Stranger! Gold Star!

    What I don't like is "This Belgian Wit is too black and roasty." or "Worst. Beer. Ever. Just like 95% of my other reviews." Which gets to the heart of the matter, and a fundamental rule of the online world: People are Terrible.

    Just terrible. Don't get me wrong, individuals are great! In fact, some of my closest friends are individuals. But People...yikes!

    Being a social media app, Untappd necessarily has to rely on People. And as we know, People are terrible. I had a check-in today, from two states away, of a Squid Ink IIPA, (Yes, it had real squid ink in it. Don't judge me.) that I brewed once, for Strange Brewfest two years ago. If you're still drinking it, it's because you lined your pockets with grocery bags and secreted it away, waiting, waiting, just waiting for the day two and a half years later you'd drink it in a bar in San Francisco. Or maybe you just confused it with some other brewery's beer. Or most likely, pudgy little drunken fingers:

    I'll check in on the Untappd account and find about eight different entries for the same beers, because drunk fingers attached to drunk People seemingly can't be bothered to look up the beer list before misspelling in their own brand new entry for a beer that either doesn't exist, or is off by one letter from the real one. So the big problem is: why is it up to the breweries to clean up this mess? Because if I don't, my beers are still there for everyone to see, and if someone should wish to honestly rate a beer, and I do nothing, they must first weed through the World's Worst Spelling Bee in order to find the truthiest looking listing. Or worse still, from a marketing standpoint, they jump on one of the worst ones because it's first on the list, and the whole hateful cycle continues. It's like Oscar Wilde said, "there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about." I have to believe that the larger breweries have wide-eyed and fresh-faced marketing interns out there spending their entire day fixing this sort of thing, but unfortunately all my interns are busy building our new Weather Dominator.

    So here's my suggestions, and the rest of you Probrewers, please, add more:

    If a brewery has claimed their account, start limiting the public's ability to add new beers. Not cut it off completely, we don't always make a new profile for each weird one-off beer. (See: Things I like #1) But perhaps a popup screen of "This sounds a lot like these beers: x, y, z" or "Have you checked the official beer list?" before a new one is added. Then give the brewery a reasonable timeframe in which to yay or nay it before it automatically is posted. Case in point.

    If a beer is checked as "Not In Production", for the love of Bilious the Oh God of Hangovers, put in a popup "This beer is no longer in production, are you sure that's what you're drinking?" Sometimes it might be: "Why yes, Untappd, this can of Vintage 1977 Billy Beer tastes terrible. The World Must Know!" But more likely it's "Derp, my finger slipped. Sorry."

    If a brewery has a brewery account, why do I have to ask Untappd to merge all the drunkenly misspelled beer names for me? The merging process in general could be faster and cleaner. Why do I have to give you a reason? Just let me do it, or do it yourself somehow, but above all make it easy, and make it instant. I'm sure there's some fiendish way to game the system that you're trying to prevent, but surely you can back-check that if it ever becomes a problem?

    So like I said, Untappd is a great, great app. But like so many, many new internet wonders, someone out there has made my life more complicated without asking me first. And every month it's a new one. "Hey why aren't you on Drunkle(tm) yet? Get with the times old man!"

    And I'm like, "Yelp has recommended the following places for you to shove your smartphone..."

    Git off my lawn you kids,
    Russell
    Last edited by Bainbridge; 06-12-2014 at 03:33 PM.
    Russell Everett
    Co-Founder / Head Brewer
    Bainbridge Island Brewing
    Bainbridge Island, WA

  2. #2
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    yeah i agree untappd is nice for honest feedback from people, but you can get honest feedback on any beer rating website. Its also nice like you said to find out which bars your beer is still pouring at.

    Things i dont like

    the majority of the time people dont give any feedback, they will just rate something without even thinking about it. I'm a big proponent of requiring a few sentences to be typed in order to rate something. Ive noticed even with myself if i dont even think about what im tasting my ratings will be all over the place.

    The other thing i absolutely despise about untappd is their curving of the ratings. Literally every beer we have on untappd is a 3.6 or 3.7 because they have too few ratings for the averages to be pulled any direction. I think they should just do a straight up average.

  3. #3
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    It is popularity contest. Your feedback is provided by your sales numbers.

  4. #4
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    The thing I don't like about it is the people that don't know beer rate based on their personal preference rather than to style. A beer could be the world's best representation of a particular style but a person will give it 1 star if they don't like that style.

  5. #5
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    Hah, yeah. Got a review of our Kolsch this weekend:

    It's a kolsch. (2.5 stars)
    Indeed, good sir. Indeed.
    Russell Everett
    Co-Founder / Head Brewer
    Bainbridge Island Brewing
    Bainbridge Island, WA

  6. #6
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    I've gotten reviews like that before… a few weeks ago, our Kolsch was given 0.5 stars and the comment "Miller lite". I think a big issue with Untappd is that the users are kind of a self-selecting crowd of folks who like Leos said, represent a very, very insignificant snapshot of your sales typically.

  7. #7
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    I would totally "cheers" this thread or give it 5 caps if i could. Untappd is a great app for seeing how well your beer is doing in the market or knowing where it's on tap, but there are far too many folks willing to bash a beer or brewery based solely on status or rarity. I absolutely agree that the rating system is flawed and hurts more than it helps too. Unfortunately (and i hope i'm wrong), the app seems to be more geared towards helping the beer-geeks figure out what's trending, what their friends are drinking, and what they're supposed to like/dislike than it is meant to help the brewers gain recognition. Real shame.

  8. #8
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    So the Washington Brewers Festival was this weekend.

    All weekend long: walk up, peer at signage, peer at cell phone, peer at signage, "Is this THIS?" hand over cell phone open to Untappd... Multiple entries for "Summer Saison". 1) Suddenly it's my responsibility for Untappd being correct and 2) *crap crap crap* I need to update Untappd...

    Really... Really?

    Got tired of "Yeah, we called it that last year then arbitrarily renamed it because I do wha I want...."

    And we used a kickass local distillery's peated single malt whisky barrels to barrel age a small amount of our scotch wee heavy and released it in the taproom and as a treat at the festival. The result is, as expect, Internet Chaos. Should have named it "Peat Beer" or "Thing 1" or something. One of the other local brewers next to me kept making fun of me for having to explain what it was. (Lesson = learned!) Finally wrote it down on a whiteboard hung from the tent. But it results in fun like this:

    Petey! Almost has a chocalte most if you pull it back a bit. Nice Pete scotch flavor.
    Pulled the words right out of my mouth! (It was a totally kickass beer though! And mispelled toast to that guy whoever he is!)

    (Edit: Not to belittle folks whose spelling abilities are perhaps a bit fumbly due to them being super-psyched about the festival... PM me on Untappd or something, I like the cut of your jib!)
    Last edited by Bainbridge; 06-15-2014 at 10:26 PM.
    Russell Everett
    Co-Founder / Head Brewer
    Bainbridge Island Brewing
    Bainbridge Island, WA

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bainbridge View Post
    Hah, yeah. Got a review of our Kolsch this weekend:



    Indeed, good sir. Indeed.

    To be fair, most of the Germans I know call Kölsch "sex in a canoe."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bainbridge View Post
    I had a check-in today, from two states away, of a Squid Ink IIPA, (Yes, it had real squid ink in it. Don't judge me.) that I brewed once, for Strange Brewfest two years ago.
    Ha, I remember drinking that beer, about as well as somebody can remember the absurdity that is Strange Brewfest. Too bad they closed.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nateo View Post
    To be fair, most of the Germans I know call Kölsch "sex in a canoe."

    Why would germans diss kolsch and call it F'ing close to water when pilsners and german wheats are a very similar color and body?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junkyard View Post
    Why would germans diss kolsch and call it F'ing close to water when pilsners and german wheats are a very similar color and body?
    Do you even drink, bro? Pilsners and Weizens are pretty different. Drink a Krombacher and then a Sion or Mühlen back to back, and the difference is obvious. I've tried every Kölsch except Peters (which is in the Radeberger group so I doubt it's any good) and none of them were anything like any of the Kölsch being brewed in America today.

    Päffgen is my favorite, but that's the hoppiest, and it's still nowhere near the hop character of even Bitburger. The only people I've personally met who really like Kölsch are either from Köln, or women. That's a pretty small sample size, granted, but make of that what you will.

    There really seems to be a weird disconnect between the fetishization of German beer in the US craft scene and the "facts on the ground," as it were. Sorry for the thread derail, but this has been bugging me for a while.

    Honestly, I think I'd take a High Life, Budwesier or PBR over Früh any day.
    Last edited by nateo; 06-16-2014 at 12:35 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nateo View Post
    Do you even drink, bro? Pilsners and Weizens are pretty different. Drink a Krombacher and then a Sion or Mühlen back to back, and the difference is obvious. I've tried every Kölsch except Peters (which is in the Radeberger group so I doubt it's any good) and none of them were anything like any of the Kölsch being brewed in America today.

    Päffgen is my favorite, but that's the hoppiest, and it's still nowhere near the hop character of even Bitburger. The only people I've personally met who really like Kölsch are either from Köln, or women. That's a pretty small sample size, granted, but make of that what you will.

    There really seems to be a weird disconnect between the fetishization of German beer in the US craft scene and the "facts on the ground," as it were. Sorry for the thread derail, but this has been bugging me for a while.

    Honestly, I think I'd take a High Life, Budwesier or PBR over Früh any day.
    I was in Germany a couple years back and have drank a wide variety of the styles they have to offer over there. Yes kolsch and pilsners and wheat beers are very different beers overall but for someone to refer to kolsch as close to water when they normally drink pilsners seems pretty dumb to me.

    I didn't get the same impression you did when I was over there, nobody really had anything against kolsch.

    In my opinion, and many others I've talked to, Kolsch is definitely a hit or miss style for a lot of craft breweries in the US. Some examples are just nasty, and I agree kolsch is available over here in the US much more widely and extensively in proportion to German pilsners.
    Last edited by Junkyard; 06-16-2014 at 02:37 PM.

  14. #14
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    As I was reading this thread and laughing my balls off, I came to a striking realization:

    Untappd is not geared to breweries. Sheets22 nailed it. I think that we, as brewers, can occasionally get lucky with a good trend or post, but for the most part, it is entirely a response to people's demand to have other people see what the first people are drinking.

    Which I get. The brewing industry has had a long, long tradition of conspicuous consumption. This is just the next phase, I suppose.

    My strategy has been total disengagement. One of my favorites was a collab DIPA that we didn't brew, which was credited to us as a Belgian Quad. Up until that point, I was blissfully ignorant of the problem. The issue arose when somebody comes in and tells me how great my Chimay-clone is. Things went sideways at that point.

    The moral is that nobody has a damn clue what the hell they're talking about, so you might as well just take it for what it's worth, and drink heavily.

  15. #15
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    The Madness Continues.

    So last weekend our IPA took a Silver in the 2014 Washington Beer Awards®! Kinda something you'd think would be nice to see right there on Untappd? You know, so that someone might pause and reflect on themselves before rating it the "Worst. IPA. Evar."

    But more than a week ago, in a fit of organization, I went through and tried to merge all the messed up entries. Like when your office finally gets so cluttered you're just like "RIGHT. That's it! Can't take it anymore..." and you start shoving things into drawers and trashbags like a cracked-out Tazmanian Devil. So here we are today, "I'll just go add that little feather to our cap..." when "Sorry, this entry has been locked for merging." From over a week ago.

    WTF. Is there one person sitting there, going through thousands of entries, like "I know the registered brewery requested this, but shall I allow it... Mmmm no."

    Le sigh.

    Meanwhile: two ratings for a beer I brewed 10 gallons of for a Seattle Beer Week event more than a month ago, sited at another brewery.
    Last edited by Bainbridge; 06-20-2014 at 10:15 AM.
    Russell Everett
    Co-Founder / Head Brewer
    Bainbridge Island Brewing
    Bainbridge Island, WA

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