If any two kinds of startups dominate Bozeman’s business scene, it’s beer and technology. One local entrepreneur has taken advantage of that, creating an app that pays you to go to breweries.

The app, PintPass, went into pre-release for those who signed up for it by midnight on Aug. 14, and it will fully launch on Oct. 15. So far, about 19,000 people are participating in the pre-launch alone, said Ryan Rickert, the app’s founder.

In exchange for answering three or four questions about their experience at breweries, app users will get $2 credited to their account, which they can put toward the bill, save or text the credit to a friend, even one who doesn’t use PintPass. It’s meant to provide local breweries with more regional marketing data, as most of what’s available is skewed toward national beer trends.

“If we can encourage them to experience the brewery more often, it’s a win-win for them,” PintPass Director of Operations Jason Trueblood said.

This will be the second release of the app, which has been funded primarily through the investments of Rickert’s family and friends. The first version charged users a small monthly fee to use it, and it relied on brewers to offer discounts. Consequently, fewer breweries were enrolled, and the critical mass wasn’t there for app users to be able to send beer credits to friends in most other cities, for example.

The new model will be free for brewers and beer drinkers alike, and it will be available in every state at more than 5,500 breweries, Rickert said. Developers have tried to partner with breweries registered with national and state-level brewers associations, including the Montana Brewers Association, to which most craft breweries in Montana belong.

Rickert has lived in Bozeman for about 15 years, having tried his first India pale ale while celebrating after a Montana State University business class competition. Montana was one of the main markets PintPass focused on in its first run, along with Portland, Oregon, and Denver.

Rickert said conservative estimates have the app at 100,000 users by December, and that’s about how much it will take to start gaining insight into consumers’ preferences.

The app will be offering a few more pre-releases on its site before its public release in October, after which it will be available to download on Android and Apple devices.

Abby Lynes can be reached at 582-2651 or alynes@dailychronicle.com.

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