Windsor

Beer Hunter website uses GPS to find booze for thirsty Ontarians

If you're looking for beer this long weekend, Adam Putter can help. Just pull that smartphone from your pocket. The Beer Hunter has gone mobile.
The Beer Hunter name and logo is a play on an old Robert De Niro movie, the Deer Hunter. (Beerhunter.ca)

If you're looking for beer this long weekend, Adam Putter and Janis Mussat can help. Just pull that smartphone from your pocket. The Beer Hunter has gone mobile.

Putter and Mussat are the couple behind Beerhunter.ca, a website that helps Ontarians find booze — and it just went mobile, in time for the Victoria Day holiday weekend.

Putter says the original desktop website was intended as a "public service for fellow imbibers" who want to know when, and where, they can purchase alcohol, especially on long weekends.

The site was launched 10 years ago, before Twitter, before several advances in smartphones and before iPhone apps.

So it's time the site got a mobile upgrade, he said.

"We're going to make it mobile friendly so by this weekend you'll be able to access it on your cellphone and it's going to be location aware, as well," Putter said. "So where-ever you are, it will show you the closest stores to where you are standing rather than you having to look up your place in Ontario."

The mobile site was live Friday morning. It uses GPS tracking in smartphones to find the alcohol retailer closest to you.

Putter said it's a common experience for Ontarians to not know where to get booze on long weekends.

"Necessity is the mother of invention," Putter said. "We've all been in that situation, where it's 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night and you have an engagement and you're driving around in a panic wondering which of those booze stores are still open.

"There was never a central source to go and get the information from. You had to look up each retailer separately."

Now, it's all in one place, for free.

Putter's site lists independent craft breweries, LCBO locations, Beer Store locations, wine stores in supermarkets and more.

He plans to eventually add all 450 Ontario grocery stores that will one day be allowed to sell booze under provincial rules announced last month. As they open, he'll add them to the site.

The province said beer will be in grocery stores by Christmas.

Putter says he makes no money from the site, and that he's received almost no complaints about his site promoting alcohol consumption.

"It's a labour of love," Putter said. "When we made this thing we never thought it would have this kind of longevity."

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