App Review: Abita
Recently Abita Brewing released an iPhone app; being a big fan of Abita beer I downloaded it immediately. It does a few things, but most importantly it has a beer locator to let the user know where Abita beer can be found.
Let’s look at the About screen first because it gives some information regarding the beer locator. As shown above, orange pins on the map represent locations verified by Abita, while purple pins represent locations added by users. The four icons link directly to Facebook, Twitter, Abita.com and Abita’s email address.
Here is the beer finder. A user can choose to search for a particular brew or all beers, and can either use the current location by leaving the Zip Code field blank or type in a Zip Code to search within the mileage radius for that Zip.
Here I’ve decided to search all brews and have entered in the Zip Code for Pop Century. Let’s see what comes up.
The app shows a maximum of 20 locations at a time; more locations can be accessed by pressing the “More Results” button at the top right.
The Beer Finder shows many locations serving Abita beer in the area. For some reason, Disney-owned on-property locations such as Boatwright’s and The Wave are not showing up. The only possibly Disney-owned marker has the Grand Floridian’s address and is called “Bay Lake Complex”. After discussing on Twitter with Michael Crawford of Progress City, U.S.A., this location may refer to a central food warehouse near the Magic Kingdom from which the beer is distributed. However, Raglan Road is a location marked on the map. Pressing the blue circle with the arrow brings up more information.
Raglan Road, according to Abita, serves Andygator and Purple Haze. From this popup you can press “Call/Visit” to pull up a second popup.
This second popup gives you the option to call (by sending the number to be dialed in the Phone app) or get directions. Getting directions sends the address to the Maps app. However, the Abita app isn’t set up for multitasking; leaving the app to get directions means you lose your search and have to start over when opening the app again.
In addition to the finder, a user can add a location (shown as purple pins on the map). The interface for adding a location is a bit limited; it can use the current location to drop the pin on the map, but if the current location is turned off, only city and state can be entered. So far I have not been able to find a single purple pin on the map; I’m sure Abita has records of most locations its beer is served. However, this would be a nice feature for Walt Disney World as a user could go through and add the locations where Abita is served.
The last section of the app contains the profiles of all of Abita’s beers. Swipe left and right to see the various beers including the seasonal and big beers. Pressing “Read More” brings up more details on each beer including food pairings.
I have mixed feelings on the Abita app. In many ways it’s great; the locator works well, the beer information is straight out of marketing materials but solid, and the ability to add locations gives users the ability to add information. However, the app itself feels like it was made for an older iPhone even though it was just released April 5, 2011. The images were made for the iPhone screens prior to the iPhone 4; the text is scaled properly as the OS does for all apps. The app has no multitasking capability; switching to another app means the user loses his place in the Abita app and has to start over. All of these issues are easily fixed.
Download the app (it’s free) and give it a try, but know that it’s an iPhone 3G app in an iPhone 4 world.