Next month, global beer rating and review platform RateBeer will open a Melbourne office, with the company saying Australia is promising to become an increasingly important market.
The web rating and review site claims more than five million users worldwide, and facilitates hundreds of thousands of beer reviews, discussion forums and an international events calendar.
The expansion into Australia and New Zealand comes after a minority purchase by AB InBev’s innovation arm ZX Ventures, in October 2016.
RateBeer Business Lead Douglas Mitchell, told Brews News that since the purchase, RateBeer has invested two million dollars in technology and the hiring of an Australian team to help drive the evolution of the global product.
“This investment has already helped improve the user experience and will fund our expansion into new areas such as the ability to buy rare and highly-rated beers on the website,” Mitchell said.
Essentially, Australians will be able to buy “rare and highly-rated” beers through retail partners via the website, with additional enhancements including the introduction of push notifications and a clearer rate and review system.
US-born Joe Tucker started as a RateBeer user before being gifted the website by its founder in 2001.
“It was kind of a funny story,” Tucker told Brews News.
“I just started helping out creating the site, and the owner of the site just ended up giving the site to me because it wasn’t making any money and it was a bit of a hardship on him.
“At first I was a little reluctant to accept but with some encouragement from the community I picked it up and the rest is history I guess.”
Having run the site for well over a decade, Tucker said that with so many users, he’d started to feel like he couldn’t keep up with everything that needed to be done.
“I realised I needed help on the site in order to better serve the community.”
Since its infancy, Tucker said that the team behind RateBeer wanted to ensure that it was an international site.
“We wanted to be sure that we were not just a US site, that we wanted to understand how the beer culture worked in England or in Belgium or in Japan and set up a system that worked for people in those locations.”
The motivation to be global came largely because beer styles are categorised differently in different countries.
To keep in touch with the international beer market, Tucker said that RateBeer has over 150 volunteer site administrators from all corners of the world.
Tucker said that the administrators do the work because they want to be sure that RateBeer accurately reflects the best beers in their area.
“Each area does beer a little bit differently in various places around the world, so having local admins helps us understand locales a bit better”.
To mark its launch in Australia, RateBeer is this week throwing parties in both Sydney and Melbourne. Some of Australia and New Zealand’s highest-rated beers will be available, and those in attendance will have the opportunity to meet co-founder Joe Tucker, who is flying in from Portland, Oregon.
Guests will receive their first beer for free, and the RateBeer team will shout them another for every review they post on RateBeer. There will also be spot prizes of limited-edition RateBeer merchandise for outstanding beer reviews.