What was once a necessity centuries ago is now one of the hottest trends to sweep the nation. From microbrews to barrel aging experiments to “hard” soda flavors, beer has become a popular hobby for the home brewer and a serious obsession for beer club members. This trend is causing an interesting intersection in modernity where tradition and technology are combining to create a new generation of lager enthusiasts. Read about how spreadsheets and apps contributed to this group's passion of beer.
Like many entrepreneurs, Phil Renda, Founder and President of the Chicago Beer Club, found himself in a difficult predicament: he loved beer and wanted to gather like-minded individuals who shared his interest, but the bookkeeping and data tracking quickly became a complicated hassle. In the early stages of the club, Renda would hold meetings about every two weeks with ten club members who would pay monthly dues. Each member would bring bottles of beer to share with the group which was then paid for by the dues. However, not everyone could make it to each meeting and those who couldn’t make it felt like they were wasting their money on beer they didn’t drink.
Renda knew that there had to be a better way to track who was attending the tastings and how to monitor how much each member was spending trying the new beers. “We thought, ‘Why is this not working?’ It was just too complicated and the level of effort was too much.”
When Renda found AppSheet, he was able to quickly create an app that would follow a pay-as-you-go model. Members and guests bring local, hard to get beers and the information is input into the app. At the end of the evening, the group tracks what each person drank so that the cost can be divided evenly. Before only members could attend and they paid a flat monthly fee. With their customized mobile app, they can track if members have a credit or balance to be cleared, they can add guests per meeting and charge accordingly, and if a member is unable to attend, they can use their credit for future tastings. Renda explains that, “An app really opened things up and provided flexibility for members to purchase as it fits their life... It has made the club more fair and we are now able to bring guests in a la carte without membership dues.”
Additionally, the Chicago Beer Club has been able to sync their app to the popular beer-focused social media platform Untappd. They share what they’re drinking, add reviews and have a running list of the unique lagers that have been sampled.
Now you may be thinking that you don’t need an app like this in your work or personal life. However, here’s the great thing about Chicago Beer Club: they had a problem and they found a solution to fit their specific situation. Every business is unique and every project has its own requirements. When you can build your own app, you are only limited by your imagination. What common problem would you fix if you could make your own app?