BeerAdvocate's parent company, Next Glass, receives significant growth investment

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by Todd, Apr 23, 2020.

  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,962) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    More good news for BeerAdvocate. Next Glass, our new parent company, has received a significant growth investment from Providence Strategic Growth (PSG), a growth equity firm.

    You can learn more in the press release below, but the investment will be used to boost product innovation and growth for the entire Next Glass portfolio and support acquisitions of tech platforms within the beverage industry.

    What does this mean specifically for BeerAdvocate? PSG's expertise and resources will allow us to accelerate the development of new services, host more beer festivals (as soon as it's safe to do so), and explore new opportunities for growing our community around the globe.

    I know that's all kind of vague, but it's still early days for us under the Next Glass umbrella and we're all dealing with the impact of COVID-19. That said, I'm still very much excited for the future, I'm grateful for being part of an awesome team, and I'll do my best to keep everyone up-to-date on our progress.

    In the meantime, thanks for hanging out with us on BeerAdvocate.

    Be safe.

    Todd Alström
    Founder, BeerAdvocate

    -- Press Release

    Next Glass Announces Strategic Investment by Providence Strategic Growth

    Investment to Support Product Innovation, Go-to-Market Acceleration and Strategic Acquisitions

    Funding Helps Establish Small-to-Medium Sized Business Support Fund for COVID-19 Relief

    Wilmington, NC – April 23, 2020 – Next Glass (the “Company”), a leading global provider of software to the beverage alcohol industry, today announced a significant growth investment by affiliates of Providence Strategic Growth (“PSG”), the growth equity affiliate of Providence Equity Partners, a premier asset management firm focused on the media, communications, education, software and services industries. The investment aims to fuel product innovation and growth for the Company’s consumer-facing platforms – Untappd, BeerAdvocate, and Untappd Live! – as well as its business products, including Untappd for Business and Untappd Marketplace. The investment also intends to support the Company’s pursuit of add-on acquisitions of technology platforms serving beverage alcohol producers, wholesalers, resellers and consumers. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

    “PSG’s impressive track record of partnering with category-leading software businesses and supporting continued growth, both organically and through acquisitions, made the firm an ideal partner,” said Trace Smith, CEO of Next Glass. “Since our founding in 2013, we’ve been on a mission to advance the beverage industry through the introduction of innovative technologies serving a global audience of millions of consumers and tens of thousands of breweries, bars, restaurants, and other venues. Our team is committed to continuing the development of best-in-class software solutions for our users and business partners and is excited by the prospect of welcoming other pioneering companies into the Next Glass family as we grow.”

    Next Glass’s consumer-facing platforms, Untappd and BeerAdvocate, are leading independent sources for beer information, ratings, reviews, and discussion online. Founded by Greg Avola and Tim Mather in 2010, the Untappd app has 8 million users globally that have recorded nearly 1 billion “check-ins”. Untappd has been featured on Best Apps lists published by TIME and The New York Times and has been featured in The Economist, TechCrunch and The Ringer. BeerAdvocate, founded in 1996 by Todd and Jason Alström, has been a go-to source for information about beer and a benchmark for beer reviews and ratings. BeerAdvocate has hosted its renowned Extreme Beer Fest for 17 years and the platform is focused on growing its Live! division to offer more world-class festivals and events around the world for both the BeerAdvocate and Untappd communities.

    The Company’s SaaS platform, Untappd for Business, is used by nearly 20,000 venues in 75 countries to publish and promote menus for beer, wine, cocktails, and food in print, online, and using in-store digital signage. Additionally, it recently launched Untappd Marketplace, a web-based B2B communication tool connecting alcohol wholesalers and self-distributing breweries and their customers to streamline the alcohol ordering process. PSG’s investment will be used to accelerate development progress and go-to-market expansion for both Untappd for Business and Untappd Marketplace.

    “Trace and the Next Glass team have built an exceptional brand and technology platform, with a passionate consumer base, in a highly fragmented and growing market,” said Matthew Stone, Principal at PSG. “We have been impressed by the Company’s growing offering and strong value proposition to both SMB and enterprise customers across the globe and are excited to partner with the Next Glass team to further build on their success.”

    In conjunction with PSG’s investment, Next Glass has deferred renewals on Untappd for Business subscriptions for existing customers and, for new customers, is offering an immediate 80% off their first month on Untappd for Business, cumulatively representing nearly $2 million of near-term relief for customers during the COVID-19 crisis.

    “We are grateful for PSG’s support in establishing this $2 million Small-to-Medium Sized Business Support Fund. Breweries, bars, restaurants and other pillars of local communities around the world deserve our support during this trying period,” added Trace Smith. “We’re committed to helping these businesses re-open and expand after restrictions lift.”

    Lumos Partners served as financial advisor to Next Glass. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP served as legal advisor to PSG, and Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. served as legal advisor to Next Glass. Kurt Taylor, founder of Next Glass and former CEO, and new CEO, Trace Smith, will both continue to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors. PSG is Next Glass’s sole outside investor.

    About Next Glass
    Founded in 2013 by Kurt Taylor, Next Glass develops software and creates experiences that connect enthusiasts, retailers, and producers in the beverage alcohol industry. Its award-winning Untappd mobile application and BeerAdvocate website are used by millions of beer enthusiasts around the world and its menu publishing software tool, Untappd for Business, enables venues to streamline publication and promotion of their beer, wine, cocktail, and food menus. The Company’s recently-introduced Untappd Marketplace enables alcohol resellers to streamline ordering of beer, wine, and spirits from wholesalers and self-distributing breweries. The Company recently established its Live! division in late-2019 to produce world class festivals and events for the Untappd and BeerAdvocate communities. The Company is headquartered in Wilmington, NC with offices in Charlotte and Durham, NC. For more information, please visit:,,,

    About Providence Strategic Growth Capital Partners L.L.C.
    Providence Strategic Growth (“PSG”) is an affiliate of Providence Equity Partners (“Providence”). Established in 2014, PSG focuses on growth equity investments in lower middle market software and technology-enabled service companies. Providence is a premier global asset management firm that pioneered a sector-focused approach to private equity investing with the vision that a dedicated team of industry experts could build exceptional companies of enduring value. Since the firm's inception in 1989, Providence has invested in more than 180 companies and is a leading equity investment firm focused on the media, communications, education and information industries. PSG is headquartered in Boston, MA, with offices in London and Kansas City. For more information on PSG, please visit, and for more information on Providence, please visit

  2. JayORear

    JayORear Meyvn (1,182) Feb 22, 2012 New York
    Society Trader

    Hi, Todd, sorry if this seems a little out of left field, but is it at all possible that BA would ever hire more paid staff, either by itself or under the auspices of Next Glass? Not that I know anyone with deep editorial/comms chops or anything . . .
    AlcahueteJ, hottenot, Junior and 6 others like this.
  3. PNW

    PNW Initiate (156) Dec 23, 2019 Washington
    Society Trader

  4. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,962) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    We're not hiring at the moment, but to achieve our goals we'll no doubt need to hire more paid staff at some point.
    AlcahueteJ, hottenot, Junior and 3 others like this.
  5. woodychandler

    woodychandler Poo-Bah (11,034) Apr 9, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader


    Would you CANsider CANtacting your sister (?) site about a BeerAdvocate badge on Untappd since yinz seem deeply welded together at this point? THAT would be extremely cool!
  6. StoutSnob40

    StoutSnob40 Poo-Bah (2,567) Jan 4, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    *ahem* marketing exec / masters degree / beer snob / funny guy *ahem*
  7. Beginner2

    Beginner2 Poo-Bah (3,220) Feb 14, 2016 Illinois

    Congratulations !
    This news is a lot to digest.
    Meanwhile, I volunteer for a focus group !
    hottenot, Todd and mikeinportc like this.
  8. troobie

    troobie Aspirant (292) Oct 7, 2006 California

    Sure are alotta fancy words. "growth equity firm", "press release", "product innovation and growth", "significant growth investment", "impressive track record of partnering with category-leading software businesses and supporting continued growth, both organically and through acquisitions", and "exceptional brand and technology platform, with a passionate consumer base, in a highly fragmented and growing market." Being just a humble beer drinker from Northern California lookin' to give my opinion and enjoy other's this sure does seem hard to swallow. I hope a dictionary of New-York-City-words will be available shortly so I's can follow along. Maybe BeerAdvocate can become!

    Listen, I get it, but I'd rather have seen fold than become this corporate shit. Having said that, here I am.
    #8 troobie, Apr 24, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
  9. dukeandduke

    dukeandduke Meyvn (1,349) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois
    Society Trader

    What is(are) the primary revenue driver(s) for this private equity firm to monetize / profit from their investment in terms of Beer Advocate assets? Individual user data, aggregate site data, web ad revenue?

    March 2019 article regarding the sale of Rate Beer:

    You have been candid in your thread announcing the initial sale to Untapped, and I believe most of us appreciate your responses and updates. I am respectfully asking if there is anything else you can share in terms of what us users can expect in terms of their past and future contributions to the website based on Beer Advocate's sale to a private equity firm.

  10. Aewachiw

    Aewachiw Zealot (533) Dec 26, 2011 Maryland

    I’ve been told you need to have a business plan. Learned that one from Gordon Gekko.

    Until then, remember when we used to just go to beer festivals, sampling ungodly amounts of craft beer and get shitfaced? Those were good days.

    BTW, I composed this on an Excel spreadsheet, and the ROI is zero. Sorry.
    hottenot and Todd like this.
  11. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,962) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Currently, the primary revenue driver for Next Glass is Untappd for Business. This is the platform that allows brewers, bars, and restaurants to publish their menus, events, and promos across multiple consumer touch points.

    If we're looking at just BeerAdvocate, our core revenue currently comes from programmatic ads and our fests. Both existed before Next Glass and our event expertise was an important factor. Unfortunately our fests are on hold at the moment due to COVID-19, but the capital enabled us to quickly relaunch our merch store to bring in some extra revenue.
    I can tell you that there are no plans to monetize individual or aggregate user data from BA.
  12. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Aspirant (269) Jan 13, 2006 New Mexico

    Sounds good, unless they decide there's profit to be made with something like a "premium" subscription for access to certain features.
    Aewachiw and hottenot like this.
  13. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,962) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    We've been offering something like this for many years now:
    AlcahueteJ, hottenot and dukeandduke like this.
  14. bearsbeers34

    bearsbeers34 Initiate (66) Nov 24, 2010 California

    Does this mean we will ,Finally get Los angeles extreme beerfest back, now that big money backing is Here!!!
    Todd likes this.
  15. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,962) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    We had been planning on bringing Extreme Beer Fest back to Los Angeles (and hosting one in Brooklyn) before PSG's growth investment, but fests are in limbo until it's safe to host them again.
    Britt and AlcahueteJ like this.