The Montana Tavern Association announced a new app on Thursday that gives subscribers a free Montana crafted drink at participating bars and restaurants.
People who download SWIG406 will pay $5 a month, which allows them to travel to 75 participating restaurants and bars for one free Montana brewed or distilled drink. Once the app is downloaded, users can see a list of participating establishments near them. If they find a place to visit and want to claim their free drink, they show the bartender the app.
The idea came from Tanya Harper, owner of the Pioneer Bar in Cut Bank.
“Everyone is on their phone so I brought the idea of a mobile phone app to the MTA, and now taverns and restaurants across the state are participating,” she said.
The app also gives bar and restaurant owners another way to reach customers with hours, menu specials, happy hours and events like live music. Users have the ability to add an establishment to their favorites and receive notifications about events or specials.
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Dax Cetraro, president of MTA, said the group used to have a paper system that offered deals to customers at bars and restaurants in Montana, but the papers were difficult to manage. Now the app is always readily available to anyone with a smartphone, he said. The app also links directly to Uber and Lyft to make sure customers who have had too much to drink find a safe way home.
Establishments owners hope one free drink will encourage customers to try something they normally wouldn’t.
“It gives you the freedom to try a beer you might never have tried otherwise,” Margaret Herriges, executive director of the MTA, said. “If I don’t like it, big deal, it was free. If I do like it, I’m much more likely to order it again and look for it in my local grocery store, too.”
The app is available to download on Google Play or in the App Store. Users can see information about participating bars and restaurants in their area for free and can pay the subscription fee to redeem free drinks.