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How CatsOnTap Cornered the Craft Beer Market

Taylor Laabs

Chances are, if you’re familiar with the craft beer scene, you’ve also aware of craft beer’s obsession with cats. Whether it be beer labels, mascots or social media profiles, cats have become a huge influence on the craft beer scene, and brewers and patrons seem all the happier for it. One of the primary catalysts leading this feline-focused movement is CatsOnTap.

The group behind CatsOnTap consists of two humans, Caroline and Nicholas, and two cats, Milly and Rosie. The inspiration for the platform started when #beercat Rosie photobombed one of their Untappd photos back in late 2013; after seeing the finalized shot featuring both Rosie and Nebraska Brewing Company Romancing the Cone IPA, the idea to feature cute cats paired with craft beer crystallized and CatsOnTap was formed. Now, CatsOnTap has over 20K+ followers on Twitter and has established relationships with a bevy of cat-friendly brewers, which has helped generate additional awareness within the craft beer community.

The cat’s relationship with breweries goes back a long way, so it’s no surprise that many craft breweries have such a great appreciation for their feline friends. While the obvious early usage for cats in breweries was for pest control, Caroline sees them impacting craft beer in a different form: “We think it’s their mysterious nature and fun personalities that give brewers companionship, stress relief during their long hours of brewing and creative inspiration for the beers and their labels.”

The creative aspect of this relationship is evident throughout a variety of craft breweries and their beer, including the likes of Half Acre Big Hugs, Finch’s TacoCat, Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja and Medusa Brewing’s Laser Cat – along with many more. One cat, the late Bitches the Cat, even played the tongue-in-cheek foil to Off Color Brewing’s mouse-focused beer branding – which now includes the newly opened OC Mousetrap. Some brewmasters have even sent CatsOnTap pictures of themselves enjoying the fruits of their labor with their feline compatriots.

While CatsOnTap helps raise awareness to the cute cats of Beer Twitter, kind of like DogRates, Caroline also said that their content has had a positive impact on the breweries who featured their cats in their social media as well. In fact, Caroline said that some patrons have gone to breweries specifically to seek out the cats on premise – the beer came second. To address this growing trend, CatsOnTap created the aptly named “Map of Cats” to highlight the known brewery cats, as well as pub/bar cats and shop cats.

Through all of this, it’s easy to see how CatsOnTap has found its niche in the craft beer market. Much like craft beer, Caroline says cats share many similar traits, including “a discerning palate and spirit as well as an insatiable curiosity for the new. Plus, brewers can engender the characteristics of beer to the mysterious and playful nature of cats.”

These similar characteristics have led to positive feedback from both breweries and everyday beer drinkers alike, fostering a well-knit #beercat community where people can share their #beercat adventures and revel in the newest cat-focused beer releases. In many ways, CatsOnTap is a breath of fresh air from the negativity and division that is so prominent in social media today, and even within the social craft beer community at times. Cats are a calming, unifying factor of cuteness; paired with craft beer, they become something even better.

What’s next for CatsOnTap? To foster more engagement with the craft beer community, they will be hosting a #CraftBeerHour on Twitter on December 12, 2017 from 3-4 pm CST and are also petitioning Twitter to make December 18th (their anniversary), national #BeerCatDay. A #beercat podcast is also in the works. Interested in learning more about CatsOnTap or just want to follow for some cute cat pics? You can find them on both Twitter and Instagram. Cheers!

Feature Image Credit:  Artisanal Brew Works (as posted to Instagram by @CatsOnTap)

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