North Texas Daily

App quenches Denton’s thirst for bar specials

App quenches Denton’s thirst for bar specials

App quenches Denton’s thirst for bar specials
March 06
00:13 2014

Matt Wood // Staff Writer

Drinking and saving money are two common pillars of the college experience. “Thirstify” aims to help make doing both of those a bit easier.

“Thirstify,” developed by UNT alum Alex Craig, is a mobile application featuring 14 bars in Denton. It offers deals and daily specials for each bar, and is available on the Apple and Google app stores.

Craig, founder and head of design for the app, conjured up the idea after being commissioned to make individual apps for Denton bars.

Craig said the process for getting all of the individual apps onto virtual markets was “a complete nightmare,” so he decided to make one with multiple bars instead.

“We thought it would be better if we put all these mobile apps into one easy-to-use place,” he said. “We created ‘Thirstify’ from there.”

Created in August 2013, Craig described “Thirstify” as “an app to find the best deals and best bars in town.”

In its first month, “Thirstify” received 11,000 unique hits and has received as many as 600 downloads in a single day, Craig said.

Owner of Oak St. Drafthouse and co-owner of East Side Social Club John Williams said he already knew Craig from seeing him at his bars.

When Craig approached Williams with “Thirstify,” he opted to include both of his bars in the app.

“I like [the app], but there’s still a bit of tweaking to be done on it,” Williams said. “But I think right now, starting out, it’s very beneficial.”

Williams said he plans to follow up with Craig in a few weeks to review the app’s effectiveness and page hits.

The tool generates revenue by receiving a monthly contribution from each bar to be featured. Craig works with each bar individually, and declined to comment on the charges.

Currently, the app only features Denton bars, but Craig plans to release a version for San Marcos next month. The updated edition will allow users to select their location and get information for bars correlating to that area.

Craig said he hopes to expand to other Texas universities and make it a ubiquitous statewide product.

By working closely with bars, Craig keeps it up to date with specials and deals for different Denton bars.

“We also have promotional events coming up,” he said. “We’re putting together a two-day pub crawl called the Tour de Denton that we’re excited about.”

At its inception, Craig said he and his team worked almost full time on the app. Work recently slowed after what Craig said was a “falling out” between him and the others who worked on the app. Craig is now the app’s sole developer.

“We just ended up going in different directions,” Craig said. “I took the reins of the project and I have a friend who helps make sure the servers are running.”

Senior director of finance and business strategy Jason Bodor works for GSATi, a Denton-based software and app development company. Bodor has used “Thirstify” himself.

“I think it’s a good first run for an app,” he said. “There are a couple of weird interface issues, like issues scrolling across the screen. But it’s clean and I like the concept.”

Bodor said it does a good job catering to people who might be unfamiliar with the Denton bar scene and wish to get an idea of the vibe for each.

He also said the trend of locally focused apps like “Thirstify” has become more popular in the last year.

Future Improvements

A current feature in development is a “news feed” similar to a Facebook feed. Craig said it would combine all the news and deals from Denton’s bars into a single stream of information.

“[That way] you don’t have to like all these different bars’ Facebook pages,” he said. “You just go to our app and you’ll be able to see all the latest updates.”

Craig also hopes to implement “Beacon” technology, which uses a phone’s GPS to determine the user’s location in order to create offers for the bar a person is in.

“If you’re at a certain bar, it would give you a notification saying: ‘You’re at this bar, check out this deal,’” he said. “ You could show that to the bartender and get a discount.”

 Feature photo: The Thirstify app allows for users to scan drink specials from local bars. Photo illustration by Nicole Arnold / Visuals Editor 

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