Cascade Brewery is set to launch a free iPhone application called the Brewer’s Nose this month, featuring more than 500 Australian and international brews.
Although it is written about in today’s The Australian, the application is not yet available for download through Apple’s iTunes. The application has been submitted to Apple but is currently subject to the company’s application approval processes. When released the application will be free.
In the interests of full disclosure, I was approached by the brewery’s advertising agency, Droga5, and assisted by writing some style descriptions and background information. As such, it’s a little difficult for me to objectively review the app. If you choose to download it, I look forward to hearing your honest reviews, which can be posted through the comments section below.
While obviously designed to market the CUB-owned Cascade Brewery, the application contains a database of more than 500 individual beers and is presented as a resource for beer drinkers to use when they are standing in their local bottleshop confronted by a wall of beers they may know little or nothing about. Using their compatible iPhone camera users can scan a beer’s barcode and get information about the beer including a description and ‘distinction’ for the beer. They can watch short videos of the Cascade brewers describing the scanned beer’s style and Tasmanian chef Rodney Dunn discuss some food matching options.
Users can also submit tasting notes and keep a log of the brews they’ve tried to date. By using GPS technology and Facebook Connect, the application also allows users to track their beer-loving friends via Facebook, see what brews they have been sampling and where, as well as store a log of the beers they have tried themselves alongside their own tasting notes.
Cascade describes the Brewer’s Nose as “the world’s first iPhone app focused on beer to use barcode scanning technology”, and I am certainly unaware of any others using the technology. Having recently seen a prototype, the technology actually works very well and it is pretty cool being able to stand in a bottleshop and summon up that sort of information.
While the information contained in the app may not come as new or be particularly informative to the hard-core beer enthusiast whose bookshelves are groaning under the weight of the complete works of Michael Jackson et al, I genuinely believe the application will be useful to the 90+ per cent of Australian beer drinkers for whom beer is lager and lager is beer. For the average beer drinker, a well-known import or foreign brand brewed-under-licence is an exotic purchase.
I regularly see people in bottleshops walking the aisles and picking up and reading a dozen or more beer bottles and studying them with great interest…before buying the same beer they always buy. If you ask them about it they say that they’re interested in beer but don’t know enough to risk buying something unusual – in case they don’t like it.
What I think the great thing I think about this app is that it gives the beer curious information about a huge range of beers and beer styles when they need it – in the bottleshop when they’re looking at trying something new. It’s obviously good for Cascade, but with more than 500 beers in the database and lots of general information about beer, I think that it’s also great for beer lovers in general that an app like this is available.
Anyway, once it’s available (and I don’t know when, but as soon as I do I’ll let you know) let us know what you think.
Obviously, any comments or observations in this post reflect my opinions only and do not represent the views of any other contributors to Australian Brews News, Cascade or Droga5 and should be read in light of my involvement in the project.