By Quinn Russell Brown
A few months ago I did a story about BECU’s plunge into mobile banking. One of the people I interviewed, Matthew Mikulsky of Lynnwood, had been working on an iPhone app that lets you log the different types of beer you drink.
Mikulsky said the idea of the app, called CapSnap, is to be “the Pinterest of beer.” You rate beers on a scale of one to five, accumulating a collection of what you like, what you love and what you’ll never drink again.
“I wanted a beer journal of what I drank,” Mikulsky said.
The name CapSnap comes from the option to snap a picture of a bottle cap, which you can then decorate with different wallpapers. If you’re drinking from a tap, you can search through an extensive database to locate your make and model.
While CapSnap comes in handy as a personal taste-tracking catalog, Mikulsky hopes people will use it to connect with friends on social networking sites as well as in real life. If, say, you wanted to pick up a six-pack before going to a friend’s house, you could hop on their CapSnap page to find a list of their favorite beers.
Mikulsky’s partner in the project is Sam George, a program manager at Microsoft. The idea for the app came about when they were watching the 2013 Super Bowl at George’s house.
“I cracked open a beer, it was like a $6 beer,” Mikulsky said. “And I hated it.”
George didn’t like it either, which meant six bucks down the drain.
“I said, ‘We should make an app for this,’” Mikulsky said.
The two formed an LLC called HyprByte. Mikulsky designed the graphics in Photoshop and passed them off to George, who did the user interface.
“The first time it went through the Apple store it got rejected,” Mikulsky said. “It was probably the most painful process I ever went through, just because the wait was killing me.”
The problem was that they didn’t have a way for users to flag content as offensive. Since CapSnap is often used in bar settings, obscene gestures can make their way into the photos people upload.
“People are drinking and having fun. If somebody flashes something that they shouldn’t flash, and somebody snaps a picture and uses it as a cap, there has to be a way to say, ‘This image is offensive to me,’” Mikulksky said.
They made the changes and got approved by the Apple store around Christmas.
Like many app developers, Mikulsky and George offer CapSnap for free and make money through in-app purchases. These come in the form of CapPacks, which are $2 wallpaper sets used to add some context to your caps. Place a Van Gogh painting behind a beer you love and a toilet bowl behind one you hate.
Since Mikulsky and George both have full-time jobs, they work on the app during nights and weekends.
“I call CapSnap my second child right now,” Mikulsky said. “You put in so much time and effort, and it drains the family. But at the end of the day we’re super excited about it.”
Perhaps best-suited for beer buffs, CapSnap can provide some fun for the casual bar hopper. Check it out at the iTunes store, and keep your eyes open for future apps from the HyprByte duo.