Good news out there for anyone looking to go on an expedition of craft breweries.
The people behind Brewcouver, the free passport that encourages beer drinkers to visit local breweries with a booklet to collect stamps, recently launched a free smartphone app.
Michael Perozzo, founder of Hazel Dell-based ZZoom Media who created Brewcouver in 2015, said the idea came about in order to spread word of Vancouver’s quietly growing brewery scene.
“It was starting to become apparent that more (breweries) were coming and perhaps something like this could draw some of the beer circles in Portland and Seattle to this place in the middle, where there was a concentration of really good beer,” he said.
The Brewcouver app, available on both iPhone and Android, updates the traditional stamp model that made bar hopping feel like backpacking through Europe. The app offers brewery news, a map, GPS-assisted directions and a glimpse into Vancouver’s brewing history.
With the app installed, beer fans can check into any of the 12 Vancouver breweries via the app. People who like physically logging visits can scan codes on nearby posters or just stick with the printed passport. The 12 breweries dot Clark County from the Felida neighborhood to a cluster in Esther Short and east to the Bennington neighborhood.
People who complete the circuit now given a Brewcouver-themed mason jar pint glass.
The app, designed by ZZoom Media, was developed by Seattle creative marketing firm Swecker.
Its development was, at first, funded by monthly payments from the breweries, until Great Western Malting Co. stepped in. The company, which makes and sells malt to breweries and is headquartered at the Port of Vancouver, said it was a great way to connect with brewers who buy the malt, along with their customers.
Great Western President Mike O’Toole said he liked the idea, too, because it gets the products out there and it helps people explore.
“I have my favorite brewers, I think everyone has their favorites. It just lists all the options and lets the consumers choose,” he said.
According to Perozzo, Brewcouver borrows elements from other successful brewery tours such as the Bend Ale Trail in Bend, Ore., and Breweries in the Gorge, a 12-brewery tour hopscotching both sides of the Columbia River.
“We went out there for quote-unquote market research,” he said jokingly. “We went and visited those breweries and borrowed things we liked about both (tours), and that’s how it came together.”