I’m not sure I would dare to brand myself with this term, but nevertheless, methodically ticking new beers is a big part of the craft beer scene. I don’t pass judgement, as I believe everyone should be free to enjoy beer in their own way. Also, just between you and me, I meet all of the criteria.
It can be a difficult task, keeping track of all the new beer that is arriving in your city. You have to constantly scour a multitude of sources; Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and individual bar sites. It’s far too easy to miss rare and unusual beers that have gone on tap or whose bottles have been added to an online store.
As a software developer, I’ve been conditioned to identify areas where technology can provide a solution to a real world problem. That and I’m just a grumpy person that gets really frustrated with everything that isn’t straightforward. This is, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, one of the areas where software can help.
This is not an unsolved problem. There are several websites, such as Taplister and BeerMenus who have been kicking ass in this area for years, by allowing bars to list their own beers directly, push to social media, push to RateBeer and send users notifications on tap changes, which allows the craft beer hunter to excel in their acquisition of rates. Taplister even allows you to throw up a big screen TV in your bar and automatically synchronise your current taps with the display. Brilliant.
Unfortunately there hasn’t been much uptake for Taplister or BeerMenus in the UK. This includes Edinburgh, which otherwise has a thriving craft beer community and growing number of truly excellent bars. It’s a bit of a leap to expect this to suddenly change, as there’s really no expectation for bars to have a realtime online presence in the UK.
OK, so, that’s more than enough preamble.
I’ve decided that the way to help get us moving along this digital timeline, from the dark ages to the cyber ages, is to create something that meets somewhere in the middle.
While hungover on the 1st of January, 2016, I threw something together that scraped Twitter and various APIs and websites to aggregate all of the tap data that we do have exposed by the various bars in Edinburgh.
Some bars didn’t have structured tweets/posts (e.g. one tweet with all taps and a way to identify these tweets consistently) and some simply wouldn’t keep their otherwise high fidelity data up-to-date. The really crap joke here is that it’s the same bar. Though I’m hoping that they heed my request to start keeping this up-to-date, as they do have some brilliant beer.
I did however, manage to include The Hanging Bat, Spit/Fire, Brewdog and Bottledog, which I think is a terrific start. You can get over there now and have a look!
As I said above, this is really just a jumping off point. My hope is that Taps Aff becomes modestly popular in Edinburgh and encourages bars to:
- Post structured tap listings.
- Keep their tap listings up-to-date.
- Ideally replace image based tap listings with textual ones (to support sending notifications, search, analytics, etc. in the future.)
- Ultimately move to a more manageable platform like Taplister (which will also be supported by Taps Aff.)
This should be of great benefit to the craft beer community as a whole, but is particularly for the tickers. Happy ticking.
NB. If you’re a bar owner in Edinburgh and want your taps to show up on Taps Aff, shoot me an email. This is a totally free service and simply involves keeping a list of taps up-to-date on your company blog/site or ideally setting up a free Taplister account and posting them there.