Abov - Interview with the developer of a fantastic app

Did you have any prior development or coding experience?

Actually, no, none of the Abov team has any real programming experience.

Honestly, we took a bit of a unique path to app entrepreneurship. We had the idea of a whiskey rating and recommendation app and had started mapping out the initial requirements of what that app might look like as well as researching development partners when we discovered Whisky Suggest. This was one of the top whiskey apps in both the Android and Apple app stores.

As it turns out, the original owner had announced that he was pausing development for financial and personal reasons, and after a few months of outreach and negotiations, we ended up acquiring Whisky Suggest.

From there, we hired a development firm named Waker based in Ohio to redesign and rebuild the app on a modern and sustainable platform. As part of this, we made the decision to also rebrand the app and website to truly make it our own.

What was the most challenging aspect of developing mobile app?

The most difficult part of developing the Abov app was truly the migration from Whisky Suggest.

Both technically making sure existing user data all properly made it over and into the right place, but also managing the change in general for our users.

Transitioning development partners, changing the branding, and communicating all of this change while continuing to run the existing app in parallel was quite daunting. All of this work was very necessary to set us up for future success.

The interviewee, Sean Sirianni, is the CEO and Co-founder of Abov, the only app you need to help you find your next favorite whiskey. Sean and his team, which includes Amanda and Eric Torgerson, Adam Gogolski, and Jordan Panning have combined their love of whiskey and passion for entrepreneurship to acquire and grow the Abov Whiskey App. Years in the making yet still constantly evolving, Abov aims to combine one of the world’s largest whiskey databases, modern mobile technology, and a highly engaged whiskey community to help you find the whiskey you will love!

Name a few of your favorite apps and reason you love them.

Twitter: Despite all the negative press around Twitter lately, it’s still one of my favorites. I don’t use much social media, but I can’t stop scrolling through Twitter feeds, for news, information, and fun. Plus, the onboarding experience is second to none.

Untappd: When not enjoying whiskey, I choose to explore the world of beer. I’d be lost without Untappd. While we definitely borrowed some inspiration from this app experience, I love the ease of use and social elements as well.

Robinhood: Another company working through a bad press that has a great app is Robinhood. They make investing insanely simple, maybe even too simple… but all with a very sleek, streamlined experience.
Peloton: Maybe a bit unusual, as most people think more of the physical stationary bike than the app, but there is a reason that Pelotons and not other bikes spiked in popularity. The gamification, quick display of stats, and community building they convey all while you are in the middle of an intense workout is great!

How long have you been working on this app?

My team acquired Whisky Suggest in May of 2021 and have been working on defining and developing the Abov app ever since, officially re-launching the new version in November of 2022.

Before that, the original Whisky Suggest website was launched in 2015 with Android and iOS applications releasing in 2017. Without the almost 8 years of foundational work, Abov would not be what it is today.

What need of the user did you have in mind when developing this app?

With an ever-increasing selection of whiskey available to customers, the decision about which product to choose and where to buy continues to grow in complexity. We want to empower Abov users to sip confidently and find the next whiskey they will love!

In what way do you think your app is better than similar apps on the market? Please describe in detail what innovation you think you bring and what you are proud of in your app.

Unlike wine (Vivino) or beer (Untappd), there currently is not one truly dominant player in the whiskey app market. Our biggest competitors in my mind are Distiller, Whiskybase, Drammer, and Whizzky.

While there is certainly overlap in features, where Abov is working to set itself apart is the recommendation functionality. Whether it’s highlighting whiskeys similar to those you already love or curating whiskeys suggested by friends and influencers, Abov strives to give you lots of options to make an informed decision to find your next favorite whiskey.

While we are just laying the foundation for some of this, we already have one of the most complete whiskey databases (50k+ different bottles) and a passionate community of whiskey fans willing to share their opinion and personal tastes.

What are your future plans and expected features of the coming new versions of this app?

While the rebuild and migration was a major effort, it has allowed us to move to a more stable platform and a more unified code set.

The original Whisky Suggest app was actually 3 completely independent apps (android, iOS, and a lighter web app version). By uniting these experiences and moving to a modern platform, we’ve laid the foundation in 2022 to really begin expanding the app in earnest in 2023.

In addition to enhancing the core functionality of searching for new whiskeys, rating and reviewing whiskeys you have tried, and managing the collection of whiskeys that you own, we have big plans to empower our app users to discover and purchase whiskeys that they will love. This includes new recommendation features, improved purchasing options, and more.

Assuming new users of your app are reading this page. What do you want to ask them to do (contact you about X, Share the app, etc.)?

First off, we just want to thank you for sticking with us through this transitionary period from Whisky Suggest to Abov. While there may be things that feel like a step backwards, we truly feel this is the best way for us to now move forwards.

We are listening to all of your feedback to fix bugs, make improvements to the features you already enjoy, and create new features that we know will make your whiskey experience great.

If you are just joining us on your whiskey journey, we ask that you check out our website www.abovapp.com and also sign up for our “Abov the Noise” Whiskey Newsletter. Both are packed full of educational resources, reviews, and recommendations for whiskeys to try, as well as news about the app.


About App:

Scan a whiskey bottle, see user reviews, add to your collection, and see where to buy.

Discover the world’s most accurate whiskey flavor profiles. Use the barcode scanner to easily find out what a whiskey tastes like and get personalized whiskey recommendations.

But that's not all, using Abov you can:

- Create and track your own personal whiskey collection
- Rate, review, and save tasting notes of whiskeys you have enjoyed (or hated!)
- Discover new whiskeys and build a wishlist of whiskeys you want to try
- Scan a barcode of a whiskey to discover user ratings, details, and flavors
- Follow other users and browse through their collections
- Find convenient whiskey retailers that ship to your location
- Contribute to the community by adding missing bottles or photos
- Unlock dozens of achievement badges (Become a bourbonthusiast by trying 5 bourbons!)
- Get recommendations based on your personal preference and history

By analyzing over 100,000 whiskey reviews and tasting notes, Abov has created unique and detailed profiles for over 45,000 individual bottles across the whiskey world. Whether a rye forward bourbon, a peaty scotch, or a sherry finished whiskey from Taiwan.

Missing any features? Questions, feedback and feature requests are always welcome by emailing [email protected].

Categories: Lifestyle

Date: February 12, 2023

Developer: Abov Whiskey

About developer: The interviewee, Sean Sirianni, is the CEO and Co-founder of Abov, the ... Read more

Website: https://www.abovapp.com/


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