On the up · 10 December 2015

All Beer Finder: The digital platform helping you find a beer for any occasion

Master brewer,  Alex Barlow of Sheffield-based All Beer
Master brewer, Alex Barlow, of Sheffield-based All Beer
If you’ve been caught up in the craft beer surge then our latest profile piece will be definitely of interest to you, as it involves a growing brand which is helping provide advice and guidance in the world of beer.

Fresh from closing a very successful Kickstarter campaign, the founder of the All Beer Finder website and app sat down with Business Advice to discuss how he’s managed to get countless beer brands to back the new development and where he’d like to take the platforms in the future. But enough from us, it’s now over to the beer-preneur.

(1)whoare you and what’s your business?

I’m Alexbarlow, founder of the All Beer Finder website and app and of Sentinel Brewery.Im a qualified master brewer andhave what many people would consider to be adream job, working as a brewing consultant and presenter, sommelier andbeerjudge. Im also the author of the “All Beer Guide“, which is the winner of four international awards including World’sbest Beer Book.

(2) Howlong have you been around for?

The Allbeer Finder website has been around since 2010 and gets a decent amount oftraffic. But it could be better muchbetter and I figured the naturalextension to the website, and the “All Beer Guide”, would be an app to help userschoose abeer theyll enjoy or a beer that will be a perfect pairing with food, all based on their flavour preferences. So in Novemberthis year I launched acrowdfunding campaign to enable me to re-launch the website and make the newapp come to life.

(3) How doyou make money

Theexisting website allows brewers to list their beers and theyve been able totake sponsorship of the new app and siteby becoming backers on our Kickstartercampaign, which successfully reached its target. The site also offers beerlovers and their friends and families looking for presents the opportunityto buy my “All Beer Guide” book or experiencepackage which can work forindividuals, for couples or for groups.

Outside ofthe All Beer app and website, my work as a brewing consultant has taken me allover the world launching andtasting beer it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotto do it!

(4) Whatmakes you different and why should people take notice?

Ivedeveloped a comprehensive and unique beer flavour database, which will beexpanded for the new app and websitewith flavour evaluations by highly trainedmaster sommeliers. it’s based on my own beer evaluation template thatidentifies flavour characters, intensity and even the level balance within abeer, and perceived balance is linked todrinkability.

Thecredibility of the template has been confirmed by scientific studies at the?International Centre for Brewing Science atnottingham University, resulting inpapers presented at the European, World Brewing Congress and American Societyofbrewing Chemists.

(5) Whatwas key in terms of getting started?

As far asthe Kickstarter campaign to get the funding for the app, research and pickingthe brains of others whod runcampaigns or researched crowdfunding wasinvaluable. The support of the brewers and of course from beer lovers, familyand friends who backed the campaign has been incredible too, and we couldnthave reached our funding targetwithout the industry getting behind us, backingthe campaign and helping to spread the word.

(6) What’syour biggest achievement to date?

The “All Beer Guide” was self-published and entirely self-funded, so as to remainindependent. That was tough but thefact it received four international awards wasproof we were on the right tracks. After that it’s making the Kickstartercampaign a success. Just a week before we ended we were only halfway towardsthe target, and if wed not got there, allour efforts would have been in vain.But the support, which came from tech-savvy food and drink lovers in Sheffieldandacross the world, and from local, national and internationalbrewers, was exceptional and I was thrilled that so manybrewers and beerlovers got behind us as it’s the natural partner to the “All Beer Guide”.

(7) What’setbacks have you had along the way?



Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.