Student Project Series: The BrewFind App

Vermont has become a hot spot for micro-brewing. Each year new breweries pop up, move, add a tasting room, start a brew festival, or expand their line of beers. How on earth is a beer-lover expected to keep up with all of this? Enter BrewFind™, created by a team of five Vermont Tech software engineering and computer information technology students. Their senior capstone project pulls all this information into an easy-to-use mobile application and website.

As student Spencer Rugg explained, there is currently no single source for residents and tourists to turn to for statewide, in-depth brewery details. “You can find some information about breweries, but you have to know the names of the breweries,” he said.

The team aggregated information that existed on the web and added a host of additional data and features to create an all-in-one Android app. In the palm of your hand you have a Google map that allows searching for breweries and filtering them by their distance from your location. You'll find tasting room and food service information, whether they fill growlers, and whether the brewery is pet- or family-friendly. You'll also see a list of the beers that are produced by the brewers, with details on each that include their IBU data and ratings.

Mark Harwood and Ted Moore helped present the BrewFind™ app on campus on May 6, 2016. They walked through the features, which also include viewing brewery events and brew festivals in chronological order. With a couple taps of your finger you can add an event to your personal calendar. Ken Bernard and Tom Pelchat presented the BrewFind™ website, which uses the same icons found in the app to share the detailed brewery and event information. Rugg pointed out the administrator portal where information can be added or edited, then pushed out to the website and app.

“We built our website from the ground up,” Harwood explained. “It was a lot of fun to try out new technologies.” The team of seniors employed some of today's best known database, API and web tools to get the job done. They also tried a few project coordination tools to wrangle the team's many tasks, coding and project changes. “It got a little messy, I cannot lie,” quipped Harwood.

“These technologies are all popular now – and we'll be able to talk about them with employers,” Bernard added.

The team is now graduating and plans to work on creating relationships with the Vermont brewing community, rolling out BrewFind™ to the public, and adding more features to their real-world project.