I don't know about you, but I like to go on "beercations." I choose a city where there's a heavy craft brewery presence, and I start the Google-fu. I make a list of what breweries, bars, festivals, and craft-centric restaurants are in the area, decide which ones I might want to visit, then look up their hours, their must-have beers, and buy tickets (if needed).
Next, I make a map on BatchGeo. It has always been my go-to for data entry, and saving a personalized map ... until now.
Someone else has done all the work for us!
The folks at HopPlotter have created a website allowing drinkers to choose the breweries they want to visit and what times they want to be out and about. I dig this because I can create a rough daily itinerary based on when stuff is open and what's closest to each other, without having to do all of the research myself.
I spoke with Ann Layman, who handles the marketing for HopPlotter. The team consists of three folks: Layman, her partner Alex Cartmell, who does all the software development, and Alex's sister Lauren, who handles the design work. While residing in the Seattle, they were getting involved in the growing craft beer scene.
"After being taken to a few local breweries by friends, we were hooked and wanted to discover more, but had no good way of knowing all of our options," says Layman.
"We started HopPlotter to solve this problem, so that people all over the world could discover and visit the amazing breweries around them wherever they might go."
Layman and Cartmell have since left Seattle and reside in Madrid, Spain. Their love of travel and beer, as well as Layman's experience as a travel agent and Cartmell's software experience, led to the creation of HopPlotter.
So what is HopPlotter?
"The main interface of the website and app is a map, with a bunch of markers indicating where breweries are located," says Layman. Each brewery has its address and hours listed, as well as if it serves food, is kid-friendly or not, and sometimes links to its social media accounts, so you can quickly see if there are any events coming up that you might want to attend.
You can use this information to plan a trip for a day, or over a few days, wherever you are. You can add a brewery, as well, if you know of one missing from the list.
Over time, the HopPlotter website will get even better; the founders eventually want to add more options for trip planning, so you can include bottle shops and specialty stores, as well as the ability to track what breweries you've visited, and use that info to help you choose future breweries based on your tastes.
There's a matching (free) iPhone app available, with an iPad app coming in a few weeks, and an Android version coming later this year. What are you waiting for? Get to brewery hopping!