Hail a beer with the sat nav of craft ale – Ale Me Now!

This morning was another massive Leeds Digital Coffee Morning! March 2017 was our ninth, hosted by LightStart at Entrepreneurial Spark, Leeds.  As always, it was free coffee and pastries, relaxed – non-salesy networking, and taking another App idea all the way from a single line, to a well defined structure and strategy – on this occasion, the sat nav of craft beer – Ale Me Now!.

Local coffee experts 200 Degrees were on hand again to provide pastries, and on the spot coffee skills to deliver cup after cup of coffee excellence.  And as usual, every cup was perfect!

We’ve already had quite a few tickets booked for the next Leeds Digital Coffee Morning in April – but before then, we have our first ever Digital Show ‘n’ Tell event, hosted by KPMG in Leeds! It’s a Monday evening event with free beer, wine and pizza… 10 guest speakers will be presenting their latest innovations – no sales, just passionate people talking about things the love, and want you to love too!  Free tickets are very limited for this event, so we’d definitely suggest you get yours booked now.

So, it’s with great pleasure we introduce you to… Ale Me Now, the sat nav of craft Beer

Ale Me Now!

As anyone who loves good food and drink will tell you, Leeds is riding on a wave at the moment.  Every single month, a handful of new bars and restaurants open in and around the city, and almost every new venture seems to remain fruitful! It’s a fantastic night out, no matter what you are looking for… but especially if you are a drinker of interesting beers.

In almost any bar in town, where Stella, Fosters, John Smiths and (sorry) Tetley used to hold sway, you can now find at least one – and often a dozen – craft beers.  The local brewing scene currently is intense, with every variety of beer – established or experimental – very well catered for.  National and international breweries are falling over themselves to collaborate with Leed’s local heros, and the variety is genuinely astonishing. Many of these visitors and collaborations are seriously exclusive, and finding where and when you can grab yourself a third/half/pint can be a challenge in it’s own right.

At the Traffic Lights, Turn Left

Ale Me Now is an innovative app aiming to serve craft drinkers in a number of distinct ways… and without the need to spend hours configuring what you do or don’t like, or planning a night out before you begin.

When you first download Ale Me Now, you can (if you are that sort of person) spend a little while swiping left and right on beers, styles of beer and different breweries, selecting your preferences.  Or, if you are already out and about – it’s easier to just let Ale Me Now know where you are drinking tonight, and let it’s genius ‘sat nav’ mode guide you on your very merry way.

Ale Me Now signposts the nearest pubs and bars on their database, and highlights three craft beers that each is currently stocking (and where available, how much they have left!)  Swipe to like the ones you like, remove the ones you dislike, and favourite the ones you REALLY like.  This is how Ale Me Now builds up it’s knowledge about your preferences as it goes.  If you go to the bar, check in to save 20% on featured beers – if you drink one, click to give it a rating…. and a comment.  And if there’s anything you’d like to see on their pumps, leave a request and watch out for it appearing!

Traffic Ahead, Turn Around Where Possible

The makers of Ale Me Now are very aware of the success of Untappd, and it’s enormous database of beers and venues – they have decided instead to walk a lighter route, focusing on quality rather than quantity.  No badges for drinking ‘achievements’ here, it’s all about discovering the nicest beers in your area, and signposting them to others.  They leave the serious beer knowledge to the bar staff, and don’t try and map every beer in every bar – this is about the travellers, the visitors, and the short lived fruit fly beers.

That’s not to say Ale Me Now doesn’t have aspirations to grow!  The next version of the app, currently in testing, features their well tested ‘Pub Crawl Builder’, which generates a more civilised version of the student favourite by creating a personalised route and selection of beers, based on how ‘large’ an evening you are looking for. It even has a ‘Beer Festival Mode’, which allows you to create your own walking event – shared with your friends.

Of course, variety is the spice of a good evening so all routes can be replanned – their traffic ahead indicator highlights busy bars in real time, so you have the choice to choose or avoid them. This obviously goes hand in hand with their new real time, location based offers, drawing you off the beaten paths wherever they can.

You Have Reached Your Destination

Within the few months it’s been going, Ale Me Now has already gained good traction with the breweries and bars of Leeds – as you can see from the detailed profiles already available – and it will only keep growing. App notifications help keep you informed of the beer scene and how it changes – as rarer visitors come to town you can guarantee a pint of something a little more exotic!  You also never need miss out on the newest venues as they appear!

So if you are a lover of beers that aren’t in the mainstream – the innovative, the hoppy, the challenging and the just plain delicious – download Ale Me Now, and order yourself a glass of something cutting edge!


As always… sound too good to be true?  Wondering why this doesn’t already exist?!

Ale Me Now is what you get when you take a bunch of lovely, engaged Leeds folk – fill them full of pastries and coffee, and use LightStart’s  interactive process to convert an idea into a strategy… even an entire business model! As always, thanks to everyone who came down, for getting involved and having SUCH great ideas in the first place.

LightStart’s process starts by capturing the ideas you have and the issues you want to overcome, prioritising them, and mapping them to focused outcomes.  These in turn inform the features, the features are prioritised into development phases, and the phases inform the overall launch strategy.  At the same time, we create a structure for the app and platform, choose the best monetisation strategy, and even move into interface design.

We always have fun running these sessions at the Leeds Digital Coffee Mornings – if you’d like to come along, it’s free and you can book a ticket here.

LightStart offers their proven process as part of their development lifecycle, as a standalone service – or via paid or free workshops.  You can contact us at ideas@lightstart.co.uk for more information, or visit lightstart.eventbrite.co.uk to find an upcoming event near you.