A tray of peppers, fruits, and ginger featuring an Untappd glass.
Photo by Untappd
If you’ve heard of Next Glass, it’s probably because of their flagship company: Untappd. Founded by Greg Avola and Tim Mather in 2010, Untappd became a subsidiary of Next Glass in 2016.
For those not in the know, Untappd is a few different things to different people. Consumers use the widely downloaded Untappd App (available on both Google Play and in the Apple Store) to keep track of — and rank — their favorite beers. But over 20,000 retailers around the world — think bars, pubs, restaurants, taprooms, and stadiums — use the Untappd for Business platform to publish digital beer menus.
“I lovingly refer to us as Disney for Adults,” says Next Glass CEO Trace Smith. “We have multiple products in our ecosystem that serve different groups of people.”
Now, with the addition of former Uber Special Operations Manager Kevin Burke, Next Glass and Untappd are poised to delight a new customer base and scale their most ambitious project yet: Untappd Marketplace.
What Is The Untappd App?
A screenshot from the Untappd App web platform.
Screenshot from Untappd
Untappd was started in 2010 by Greg Avola and Tim Mather as a way for users to keep track of — and rate — different beers. The platform also offers personalized recommendations and alerts users about local craft beer events. Users can communicate with each other and with breweries, as well as earn “badges” for achievements like trying a specific number of beers of a certain style.
In 2016, Next Glass announced that it had purchased Untappd. Then, in 2020, Untappd announced that it had received investment from Boston-based Providence Strategic Growth to purchase “certain assets” from Beer Advocate, a web-based platform that offers rating tools as well as robust forums for the craft beer community.
What Is Untappd For Business?
A screenshot from the Untappd for Business web platform.
Screenshot from Untappd
For over 20,000 users in seventy-five different countries, Untappd for Business provides a way to easily create digital and print menu boards. The Untappd for Business platform also allows businesses to promote events and programming to Untappd app users.
“The Untappd for Business platform allows users to seamlessly publish menus from a single location,” says Kevin Burke, Untappd’s new Executive Vice President of Operations.
So if you run a bar and you get a new product on draft, or you have a bottle shop and a new canned beer comes in, you can simply log into the app and update your menu in real time. These menus can then be viewed by users of the consumer-facing Untappd app, who can even get alerts when certain products reach a local retailer.
What Is Untappd Marketplace?
A screenshot from the Untappd Marketplace web platform.
Photo from Untappd
Untappd’s newest product — Untappd Marketplace — aims to “seamlessly string together the three-tier system of alcohol distribution with software solutions,” according to Smith.
“If you’re a retailer with decent craft offerings, your ordering system is pretty fragmented,” says Smith. “But the retailer’s time is more valuable than that.”
New EVP of Operations Kevin Burke offers a scenario in which the new Untappd Marketplace will be used.
“Currently, as a retailer trying to stock your shelves, you might interact with two different wholesalers and six different local breweries,” says Burke. “The individuals across those eight relationships might have varying degrees of technology in their workflow. You might have one person that shows up Wednesdays at lunch and takes your order on pen and paper. With another wholesaler, maybe you have to call, or email, or use an online ordering system. It’s almost a full time job just to get out orders. At Marketplace, you log into a single platform. There’s almost an Amazon-esque menu of options. You select what you want, and the platform will route that to you.”
Burke, who started at Untappd last month, comes to Untappd by way of Opendoor and Uber, where he helped scale operations from “Charlotte to North Carolina to the Carolinas, plural.” By the end of Burke’s tenure at Uber, he was a senior manager overseeing five different southern states.
According to Next Glass CEO Trace Smith, Burke’s experience scaling Uber illustrates the trajectory that Next Glass and Untappd hope to take with Untappd Marketplace. At present, Untappd Marketplace is being beta-tested in Wilmington, North Carolina.