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Beerjobber: Conshohocken-based online craft beer marketplace is first of its kind, says founder

If anyone understands the frustration of trekking to a beer distributor for a case of beer or the annoyance of having to walk into a bar to grab a six-pack it’s a Philadelphian, thanks to Pennsylvania’s draconian alcohol policies. So maybe it makes sense that Wharton graduate and long-time Philadelphia area resident Sean Nevins created […]

If anyone understands the frustration of trekking to a beer distributor for a case of beer or the annoyance of having to walk into a bar to grab a six-pack it’s a Philadelphian, thanks to Pennsylvania’s draconian alcohol policies.

So maybe it makes sense that Wharton graduate and long-time Philadelphia area resident Sean Nevins created and launched Beerjobber, an online service with offices in Conshohocken, Washington D.C., and Delaware that promises to help consumers find craft beers they like then delivers the beer, fresh from the brewery.

Beerjobber launched its service in 38 states on Valentine’s Day, after operating in invite-only beta since December. During the three-month beta period, the site took on about 2,000 users, according to a press release.  In its first 24 hours, the site, which works with more than 30 breweries nationwide, registered nearly 1,000 new accounts, Nevins told Technically Philly.

“People are happy to to be able to get beers that are out of market,” Nevins said. “They are excited about the freshness. They like to be able to browse around and learn about the different beers before buying.”

For Nevins, that feedback is precisely why he conceived of Beerjobber, which he boasts is the first craft beer market of its kind.

“One of the things that has frustrated me is one, getting stale beer or, even worse, skunked beer, or two, going to a store and staring at a wall of beer or looking at stacked up boxes at a distributor and wanting to try something new, but not knowing what to try.”

Technically Philly opened an account on the site to see what Beerjobber could do for our “hypothetical” craft beer habit that goes beyond just strolling into a neighborhood bottle shop. The biggest obstacle to buying any beer you want is that state laws still apply to consumers in each state, so not all of Beerjobber’s inventory is available to everyone. Pennsylvanians, for example, can’t purchase any beer brewed in in the commonwealth through Beerjobber, Nevins says.

So, if you want that pack of Kenzinger, head to your local distributor because Philadelphia Brewing Company can’t be delivered to your home in Pennsylvania.

Aside from the legal restrictions, however, Beerjobber was informative for a novice like this reporter. Beerjobber targets search results based on your preferences. You can also search for beers by brewery, if you already have a brew in mind. Each brewery has a landing page with a brief bio and a list of their beers.

What may be most helpful, though, are the summaries and consumer ratings that pop up when you click on a beer. For the beer-loving, but not beer-knowledgeable, these blurbs offer a clue about what you’re buying. Which at least feels more practical than staring at a row of craft beers and choosing one by variety and the appeal of its label.

While Beerjobber legally does business in Delaware, according to its incorporation, Nevins says that having a base in Philly has been a huge advantage.

“I’m not having a lot of the issues that go with some startups,” Nevins said. “Meeting people for the first time and not knowing if they’re going out to deliver. All that stuff has been non-existent.”

This reporter hasn’t been to all the bottle shops in Philadelphia (yet!), so aside from the restrictions on PA brews, it’s not clear how their inventory compares to what Beerjobber has to offer. But it’s certainly possible that Beerjobber might be a convenient and educational alternative, as long as finicky alcohol laws don’t drag them down.

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Yael Borofsky was the lead reporter for Technically Philly from from December 2011 to June 2012 before leaving to pursue an urban studies graduate degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Previously she was an editor with the Breakthrough Journal in San Francisco. She loves hockey and coffee.

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