So this is what happens when two lawyers for the federal government really like sour beers but realize there’s no easy way to find where they’re on tap: they build a beer finder.
Philly Tap Finder, created by husband and wife pair Jared and Kristy Littman in September 2010, now offers real-time data on more than 70 bars’ tap lists. The Littmans launched a new design last month and the tool was just named Philly’s best “resource for beer snobs” by Philadelphia Magazine.
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Jared Littman says he started conceptualizing the project five years ago, when he and his wife — both professed beer geeks — noticed that despite Philly’s intense craft beer culture, there was no comprehensive spot to find out where you could drink a certain beer on any given night. Many bars didn’t keep their websites updated with draft lists, and, Littman points out, some bars don’t even have websites.
The most work-intensive part of the site, says Littman, is collecting the data. The Littmans input the data on their own, relying on cell phone photos of a bar’s draft list, websites and Twitter. Littman says the site functions because of the relationships he has with local bars. As long as he makes it easy for the local barkeep to keep him updated, they’ll help him out.
Littman says he’s pretty serious about the site — he spends about three hours a day updating it and says he sometimes stops at bars to check on their draft lists.
“It’s pretty nerdy,” he says, but he could tell you what bar you’re at just by seeing the handwriting on a bar’s draft list chalk board.
He also crowdsources the data with Tap Tips, where users can send in draft lists and win Philly Tap Finder swag.
The response has been great, Littman says. The bars love it, and he says he’s met people who use the site to figure out where they’re going that night.
New York City-based web design firm New Philosophy built the most recent version of Tap Finder. Littman says he had a local developer on the project but the developer was too busy to focus on the site.
Next up for the project? Littman is hoping to create a mobile app (he says he gets emails about that daily), as well as expanding to other cities on the East Coast. That’ll be a big step though, he says, as there will need to be someone in the new markets who knows the beer scene and is as dedicated to the project as he and his wife are.
The Littmans, both lawyers for the federal government, live in Queen Village with their 10-week old child. They’re big fans of sour beers and Berliner Weisses.