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RateBeer.com is an independent community of beer enthusiasts dedicated to the pursuit of good beer. Its mission is to continue to serve the craft beer community as the premier resource for unbiased, consumer-driven information about beer and breweries worldwide and to enhance the image and worldwide appreciation of beer. RateBeer has a database of hundreds of thousands of beers, almost 20,000 breweries, and a following of beer lovers around the globe. We recently sat down with Joe Tucker, RateBeer’s enthusiastic Executive Director, to have some fun and learn about how RateBeer assists Taplister in providing data and education for their users throughout North America and abroad.

RateBeer.com is, decidedly, a website for beer nerds attracted to the world of creative beers. But that’s OK because its president, Joe Tucker, confessed, “I was a strange, nerdy child drawn to technology and creative excess.” And he’s not pulling the geek card like many cool kids do. “I learned to make circuits and put together fun electronic things, often using power tools without supervision, sometimes breaking prized toys in the process…I was a voracious reader.” He even read his mom’s cookbooks, including “old dumb ones with recipes that involved gelatin and fish.” Although there are many weird beers reviewed on RateBeer that make for good reading material, hopefully there are none made with fishy Jell-O.

Screenshot of Ratebeer.com

When RateBeer debuted in 2001,Tucker wasn’t one of the founders, however he volunteered to help the founders build their site. Before long, he found himself at the helm, and it was well on its way to becoming one of the craft beer industry’s most popular and useful sites. As time went on, the owners deemed it too burdensome, and they decided to fork it over to Tucker. Five years later, it turned into Joe’s full time job. Now, nearly a decade later, RateBeer.com is the premier beer rating website. But it’s more than that. It’s truly a community whose worldwide members organize real-life RateBeer Gatherings. A number of relationships have been struck through the site, including marriages. And, according to Tucker, “We’ve even had an admin save a guy’s life once.”

Here’s real proof that beer really can be a lifesaver!

“We grew up as a site not knowing we were having any effect until we started to see that we were having huge effects on the way beers were bought and sold”. Tucker recalls, “One of my favorite stories involved a beer-bearing beast-driven cart that went from a Mediterranean island’s port to town, and on the bill of lading was the name of the beer, quantity, price, and RateBeer score. I also once received a picture of a store in El Salvador where they had RateBeer shelf tags.”

Ratebeer shelf tags

It’s those tags, which retailers post on their store shelves, and the credibility that “RateBeerians” collectively convey via the numeric score ­— preferably, for the brewer, as close to 100 as they can get — that make RateBeer.com a perfect partner for Taplister. “RateBeer helps ensure that consumer and business users of Taplister get the highest quality beer data available,” said Tucker. “Shifting our focus more mainstream would have a deleterious effect on the quality of our scores…People who are a little more explorative, thoughtful, and thorough tend to find us and thrive.” The result is that RateBeer acts as a data platform serving many players in the craft beer industry. This means RateBeer’s huge database impacts the beer apps market, and therefore the craft beer market.

“These are primarily API partners,” explained Tucker, referring to the application program interface where apps pull data from RateBeer on demand. “We’ve been working with Taplister for several years now to make use of our availability data, which is what we call users reports of where they get their beers, and to enrich the data that we feature on the site.  This kind of cooperation works well for everyone, especially all our users.”


Kerry, Mark, Joe

Mark Meyer & Kerry Finsand of Taplister with Joe Tucker from Ratebeer.com.

The partnership goes both ways. “Kerry Finsand and Mark Meyer are great to work with, and know how to bring great ideas to fruition,” said Tucker gratefully. “Often we’re looking at all manner of data rolling into our sites and it really takes a number of minds to look at it from a few different directions to come up with new ways that we can serve up something interesting.”


Both Tucker and his fellow RateBeerians are passionate about beer as well as helping others develop that kinship. Some folks take it upon themselves to place international phone calls to brewers to verify data on the site. Collectively, it’s these little things that causes Tucker to note, “I think we try a little harder. We do a little more. And this means we also care a little more about the quality of our interactions and how much fun we have. The soul of craft beer and the soul of RateBeer are both about enriching our daily experience.” By providing an easy way to educate their own customers about the great and unique beers they serve, it directly and indirectly aids Taplister’s customers from beer geeks, to new users, and to retailers everywhere.

Brian Yaeger is the author of Oregon Breweries and Red, White, & Brew. When he’s not drinking beer or writing about it, he welcomes beer trippers to Portland at his bed’n’beer, Inn Beervana.

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