It's Friday! RateBeer Best recap, Search preview

Hello everyone, and thanks for reading!

It’s Friday, and I wanted to catch you up on some latest happenings at RateBeer in this now occasional report.

First off, congratulations to all our winners at RateBeer Best. This year had an astounding number of new beers – more than 100 thousand (our next biggest year was low 60k) and we also saw greater participation in the results with an all-time monthly high of ratings happening this Summer. Viewership of the awards this year was also up significantly and we had a higher number of new signups as well. Outside of the dry stats, RateBeer Best has always been a time to reflect on the state of the industry and the culture around it.

For the first time in over a decade we saw a drop in new brewers. Those of us who are familiar with the Newtonian wisdom of what goes up must come down saw this coming. It doesn’t mean craft beer is going away at all but it does mean that it will become more stable and more settled out. I predict we’ll see a greater focus on quality and greater rewards for brewers who have invested in quality. I also see RateBeer’s audience, which tends to be less interested in fads, less negatively impacted by the related cultural change than other services. We have good times to look forward to.

Something else that has me excited for the coming year is the torrid pace of positive work I’m seeing by the RateBeer Team. Search will debut next week in a solid form. This is a giant leap forward in my mind from both the search we debuted on the mobile app and the search I toiled for years to create and still had nagging issues (like extended character set!). I hope you’ll love this leap forward too. We have a search intro note below!

Around the corner, our beer page facelift is on the dock prepping for builders. A lot of work went into this first revision and it solves a number of problems as well. While the changes will be less exciting and impactful for most users, this page has been something that I have wanted to improve for years. We have other features rolling out in the coming months that are being planned and researched now.

On that note, our designer Jesse will be working with me on user research. We’re preparing a meet and greet with Jesse in Seattle on Feb 23. Come out and say hi! We’ll be hosting a bottle share.

Here is Kate’s note on search:

Hi all!

We’re excited to announce the site-wide launch of our new search flow [due out early next week]. [Soon] when you submit a search from the homepage or header, you will be taken to the new search results page which offers the following features:

  • Partial word search (e.g. ‘voo pass’ returns ‘New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA - Passion Fruit’)
  • Intelligent typo and misspelling correction (e.g. ‘hogarden’ returns ‘Hoegaarden’)
  • A predictive typeahead search bar that will preview the top Beer and Brewer matches as you type
  • A redesigned, tabbed layout with infinite scrolling to streamline discoverability by category
  • A search ordering filter that allows you to sort results by Closest Match, Most Ratings, and Top Rated
  • A specially-designed, mobile-optimized flow for handheld devices
    - Speed. The new search is appreciably faster
    - You’ll be able to see if you’ve rated a beer in search results

We’ve been consistently adjusting and improving our search algorithm with the user in mind throughout the initial development and the beta release, and we will continue to do so after this site-wide launch. We’re collecting thorough analytics that track how quickly users are finding what they’re searching for, and we will be using these analytics to guide us towards the most optimized RateBeer search possible.

As always, we welcome your feedback, and we look forward to continuing our work on web improvements and feature releases!

Have a great “Big Game” weekend!



p.s. Some might note a minor and perhaps mildly annoying change to search that I hope doesn’t counter all the good changes for you. A mid-string fragment search on the first word of a multi-word search term will not hit, e.g. “voo pass” will return New Belgium Voodoo Ranger IPA - Passionfruit but “doo pass” will not. It might take a little learning to use search most effectively, but overall, a much better and faster experience, I hope you’ll agree.


Will we be able to see whether we’ve rated a beer or not on the new search results page?


Yes image

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Good! That one had me quite worried to be honest.

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Thanks for the question. I’ve updated the original post.

This sounds like a great update. Nothing more annoying than searching 5 or 6 times with slightly different spellings until I manage to hit the right combo.


Joe, it’s good to see that many points discussed on here were taken into account. Thank you!

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  • You’ll be able to see if you’ve rated a beer in search results

Glad to read all this, everything looks good and for once I can’t see anything we could complain about. Why you didn’t simply post this before you got a ton of hate and backlash is beyond me, but at least you finally got round to it and addressed everyone’s concerns.

Would “pass doo” work? As long as we know the start of at least one word the other words can be mid-string?

I have to say I’ve still serious concerns about this.
If search fails to find something that is a match. It can’t be trusted, and i would definitely prefer a search i can trust over a fast one i cant

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Or perhaps the growth is in countries where RateBeer is not particularly popular?

Also, please fix the ongoing issues with international letters/characters. Being able to actually read a list of Hungarian or Czech beers full of accents and diacritics is more important than retooling the beer page.

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