In the 1977 film, Smokey and the Bandit, rich Texas businessman, Big Enos Burdette, paid Burt Reynolds $80,000 to haul 400 cases of Coors from Texarkana to Atlanta. As an avid craft beer drinker myself, it’s hard to believe that my dad’s favorite movie is about a man who risks it all just to get his hands on some distinctly average beer. But in 1978, when he was my age, there were only 89 breweries in the United States. There simply weren’t many options. In July of last year, however, there were 3,040, and that number continues to grow. You might be surprised to hear that Atlanta alone has over 15 local breweries. With so many breweries popping up seemingly overnight, how can you possibly discover all of them? The guys at Craft Crawler are here to show you the way.
“Craft Crawler is a free to use website and mobile application designed to help connect thirsty craft beer drinkers with microbreweries and brewpubs throughout the United States,” explains founder John Bentley. “Before Craft Crawler, finding breweries was way more difficult than it needed to be. We offer the largest, most accurate directory of breweries online, as well as the only brewery directory that allows brewers to input and update their own content. Our goal is to create a platform where brewers can easily share information about what is going on at their breweries so users can quickly find the perfect nearby brewery to fit their fancy.”
According to John, “The other craft beer apps out there are primarily user-based beer rating apps where you get ‘points’ based on the amount of beers you try and rate. We are more focused on getting people to go check out local breweries, whether they are in their home state or traveling.” This idea was inspired by his father, who loves visiting breweries. Although his dad has a smartphone, he’s not a big user of apps. “If the app is not easy for him to use and navigate, it’s too complicated,” claims Bentley.
As an Atlanta native, Bentley says he owes a lot to his hometown. “When I started trying to build this concept and choose a home-base, it became evident pretty quickly that I should head back to ATL. The craft beer culture in Atlanta is growing like crazy, the startup scene is incredible, and we’ve received a lot of support from other Atlanta area entrepreneurs that I really don’t think we could have found anywhere else in the country,” he asserts.
So far, Craft Crawler is a self-funded project. “We aren’t really looking for any major investment right now but we are considering applying to some of the Atlanta based accelerator programs, mostly for the mentorship, experience, and strategic partnerships,” says Bentley. However, they are hiring at the moment. “We are actually looking for a technical co-founder / CTO. We have had varying degrees of success with some freelance developers and dev shops, but we would really like to find someone to join the team that knows how to code and likes to drink beer.” If you like visiting breweries, download the app from the App Store and check out one of over 3000 breweries in Craft Crawler’s database.
Screenshots of the Craft Crawler App
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