Untappd: A New Way to Drink Socially

What’s better than sharing a beer with a friend? Sharing a beer with all of your friends. By allowing users to share the beers they drink through social media, Mobile-based check-in site Untappd has managed to make drinking even more social.

Launched in October, the site is part of a new trend of location-based check-in. This idea was first popularized on sites such as Foursquare and Gowalla, and was recently added to Facebook. Untappd was able to take the concept and build a community around a specific interest – drinking craft beer.

According to co-founder Tim Mather, people love to share what they are doing and earn badges. However, community focus must have a large enough reach to be significant. The site has found a niche, receiving attention from top social media blog Mashable. The site has grown at a rapid pace.

“It's been a very humbling experience to see our community expand to all over the globe,” said Mather. “It's beyond anything we had initially imagined.”

Another interesting characteristic of Untappd is that the founders opted to create a mobile-based site, rather than an app tied to one specific device. Untappd was able to launch across four major mobile platforms, rather than being limited to iPhone users.

Similar to other social check in sites, Untappd also gives users the chance to earn badges, which adds a game element to the site. Untappd members can earn badges for completing objectives, such as drinking a particular beer. The site recently partnered with Boston-based brewer Samuel Adams, offering a special badge for users who checked in drinking its new beer Infinium.

“The extended social reach that the badge has created is an invaluable resource for Samuel Adams,” said Mather. “Many of our users have asked where they can find Infinium – not only to try it, but to unlock the special edition badge.”

Customers always have enjoyed receiving rewards from companies. Businesses should now consider virtual rewards, such as badges from Untappd, as a way to recognize and reward customers.