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May. 26, 2010 7:34 pm

Shop Talk: Philly Beer Week gets an app

Update: The new version is out. Edit: Corrected some minor features that aren’t in latest version, clarified Bilotta’s position. Thanks to a new iPhone app, navigating Philly Beer Week just got a whole lot easier. Philly Beer Week is a yearly festival – started in 2008 – where the city’s breweries, taverns and restaurants hold […]

Update: The new version is out.

Edit: Corrected some minor features that aren’t in latest version, clarified Bilotta’s position.

Thanks to a new iPhone app, navigating Philly Beer Week just got a whole lot easier.

Philly Beer Week is a yearly festival – started in 2008 – where the city’s breweries, taverns and restaurants hold tastings and other events to back up the claim that Philly is America’s best beer-drinking city. Something that gets other cities (ahem, Portland) all hot and bothered.

To help Philly Beer Week attendees navigate the hundreds of events as efficiently as possible, the non-profit has enlisted the help of six members of Philly’s CocoaHeads to make a free iPhone application.

The app is a side project of Andy Mroczkowski, Corey Floyd, Jake O’Brien, Johnny Bilotta, Kevin Lee and Michael James who initially started the project as an events calendar application before deciding to leverage Bilotta’s close relationship with the board of Philly Beer Week thanks to his work as one of the Two Guys on Beer podcast.

“It’s a learning process, we were all committed to making a great app and we made a lot of mistakes,” says Lee, a software developer who added that this was his first experience making an iPhone application.

The app combines the familiar iPhone interface with a calendar of events. Users can sort events by brewery, location and time. The application integrates with the iPhone’s native Google Maps app to assist you in getting to the next venue, even if you’ve had a few.

Users can pull up events, get directions as well as a list of beers being served with links to the brewery’s website. The app even aggregates tweets about PBW so you can keep tabs on the crowd and provides taxi information to get you to the next event safely.

The app’s 1.0 version has been approved for use in the Apple App Store, but the group is racing to make its 1.0.1 version live before PBW starts June 4th.

Lee said he and the team can’t wait for the event so they can finally enjoy the fruits of their labor.

“We are so burnt out, I’ve been up since 2 a.m. working on this,” he says. “It’s going to come down to the wire.”

Disclaimer: We received a free beta version of the application from its developers.

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Sean Blanda is an adviser to Technical.ly, the local technology news network, having cofounded its flagship Technically Philly in February 2009. He is a media consultant, engagement editor for Behance and lives in Brooklyn, NYC.

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