From a Press Release:
Friday, April 1, 2011, Portland, OR - Kerry Finsand, Chief Beer Officer of Taplister LLC, and Megan Flynn, Publisher of Beer West Magazine, announced today that the two companies would merge business and publishing operations beginning April 1st, with Kerry Finsand becoming President and CFO of the newly formed Taplister NW Communications, LLC. Outgoing Beer West Publisher Megan Flynn would take over as Content Editor for both the print magazine and Taplister websites and smartphone applications.
I knew this had been in talks for a while, but it is now official. It's an interesting move that perhaps reflects the uncertain future of print media and a highly competitive mobile application environment. They have a whole new bag of tricks up their sleeve, and even a new beer bar in the works to implement some of the ideas...
|Megan Flynn and Kerry Finsand (center) celebrate at Concordia Alehouse|
Last night Kerry Finsand and friends gathered to celebrate at Concordia Alehouse, where I got to learn more about what this move means for the company and how this strategically places them in a super competitive market. I frankly was not sure how combining essentially a website/smartphone app and a print magazine was beneficial to either. Here's what he had to say about the interesting concept:
"We hope that by combining two things that no one wanted to pay for, Taplister's Beer Signal app and Beer West magazine, that we can create something with twice the value."
Flynn's new position also makes room for her to open her long-rumored Belgian Beer Bar dubbed, Belgian Beer West, that will feature only "Belgian-esque" beers made in the regions the magazine is distributed in: Oregon, Washington and California. The bistro and bar will take advantage of the revolutionary new Digimarc technology once again to do away with paper menus once and for all. Instead, patrons need to download the new Taplister NW application on their smartphone (just $3.99) that will have a built-in feature that can scan a QR code symbol in the bar, which will then do a live search on the bar's current taps, putting an end to paper taplists littered with beers crossed out with markers. Moreover, to order a beer you simply double tap the listing on your phone, which reduces the need for full table service. When asked about the benefits to the consumer from such a technology, Flynn said:
"No longer will people be forced to use wasteful paper and plastic menus to look at a draft list. We see this as one more step towards sustainability, as well as cutting down on costly waiters and waitresses. With 20% less staff, we cut down our water, heating, and electricity use and funnel our savings back to the public by purchasing carbon credits to offset our footprint and lowering the price on the game changing app from $9.99 to $3.99 for customers of the bar who spend at least $50."
Flynn hopes this venture will reinvigorate subscriptions to the newly named Taplister NW Magazine by offering discounted subscriptions to digital only versions of the magazine, but only to those who first subscribe to the print version. Furthermore, the magazines articles and content are set to take on a whole new approach, taking inspiration from social media websites and blogs. Beginning with the magazine's June issue, all content will be essentially crowd sourced. For a small uploading fee, anyone can now submit their own story, where it will then be given a thumbs up or thumbs down by other possible contributors. The highest ranked articles will make it into the print publication. Megan was also excited by a new column simply titled "Pub Night Tweets" that would compile the funniest and most insightful tweets by Taplister West followers on the social media site, like this one from @Gdocer:
Photo proof Obama negotiated the Goose Island sale to InBev and got Brewmasters canceled. He's in the pocket of big Belgian Business.
While it remains to be seen if these new steps can breathe new life into the print magazine, I wondered how this would affect Taplister's primary business of "live" taplists via the web and smartphone apps.
"No one is interested in looking at a live video of a taplist at a beer bar. However, in the years since Taplister has been founded, we have caught some pretty wild and outlandish things on those cameras: smoking of illegal substances, bar room brawls, sweaty makeouts, and general deviant behavior. Heh, I think Megan even flashed the camera once on her birthday!"
Said Kerry amused between bites of his sandwich and talking on the phone:
"We intend to make these videos available via a web series or podcast, as some call them. Sort of a Taplister live and uncensored, if you will."
"We are even going to make these available for free. Well, to subscribers, of course, and after a short product suggestion during the intro."
Kerry says that persons worried about actions that may have been caught on Taplister cameras can contact him to have the offending segments removed for a small editing fee. One thing is for sure, the new company's direction is playing to what is hot in entertainment and media right now, and will surely raise awareness and, some speculate, make it an even more desirable target for an even bigger company to acquire.
|Megan celebrates amidst plastic cups and cans of Miller Lite|