Want to open a brewery? There’s an app for that.
For less than the cost of a pint, a new game called Fiz: The Brewery Management Game lets beer lovers, homebrewers and gamers open and operate a brewery on a smartphone or a tablet.
Designer Sean Sanders thought up the idea while attending the Sasquatch Brew Fest in Eugene, OR. Although he was happy at his video game studio job, he indulged in a brief fantasy about opening a brewery, he says, before realizing he could follow the inspiration elsewhere.
“I thought, I could make a game about being a brewer and that would fulfill that fantasy for me, without as much financial investment,” he says.
Sanders left his full-time job to found Bit By Bit Studios and started working on Fiz in July 2012, and artist Kelly O’Donnell joined in November. He had some funds saved for the project, but the bulk of funding came from a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $8,000 and helped to generate interest in the project. The game launched in December 2013, after a year and a half of research and development.
In Fiz, which costs $1.99 to download and doesn’t require any in-app purchases, the player manages a small brewery in a garage (complete with mice to catch) and works to unlock new recipes, more challenging marketplaces and more capable employees. The game follows a storyline, including appearances by a villain named Gary Blau, with the ultimate goal of unlocking the third and final brewery.
The thorough, realistic brewery setup is thanks in part to Sanders’ extensive research; he asked questions on forums like HomebrewTalk.com and had homebrewers and professionals beta test the game over the course of several months.
On the first day it was released the game had upwards of 1,400 downloads, says Sanders. After about three months, there were more than 40,000 downloads across all platforms, and it seems to have found an audience among beer and game lovers alike.
“I wanted it to be accessible for people who like beer, but don’t necessarily like games,” he says. “It’ll teach beer drinkers a little bit about playing these types of games and it’ll teach game players a little bit about beer.”