WILMINGTON – Wilmington-based Next Glass under new management is developing a taste for growth through acquisition.

The emerging entrepreneurial company has acquired digital magazine Hop Culture, which caters to craft beer enthusiasts, it announced in a press release

The deal is the second acquisition that Next Glass has made in a digital publication in 2020, following the acquisition of the BeerAdvocate website and other assets of the company in February. The company also recently acquired the Atlanta-based Oznr, a graduate of the online Y Combinator Startup School, in a deal that was announced in October 2020

“The Hop Culture team has built an engaging and important platform with voices and events that resonate within the industry,” said Trace Smith, CEO of Next Glass. “We’re excited and proud to welcome a brand and team with values and a vision that so closely mirror our own.”

Next Glass was founded in 2013 and merged with Untappd in 2016.  The founder and CEO of Next Glass, Kurt Taylor, left the role of CEO in late March with a strategic investment from Providence Strategic Growth, a part of Providence Equity Partners.  At that time, Smith was promoted from COO to CEO.  The company hired former Opendoor and Uber executive Kevin Burke as executive vice president in July. 

Hop Culture was founded in 2017 by journalist Kenny Gould, who took over leadership of a “Beer of the Week” club at Duke University in 2009.  When he launched Hop Culture in 2017, he began promoting small and independent craft breweries on Instagram and a digital magazine.  Later, Hop Culture expanded its operations to providing an event series and added a merchandise line.  The first event the company put together, the Juicy Brews Craft Beer Festival in Pittsburgh, Pa., sold out of tickets in under ten seconds.

Gould wrote an editorial for the Hop Culture website announcing the news, stating that he and the team will continue to work with the company in expanded roles

According to Gould, the deal came together after a conversation with Trace Smith in the summer of 2020, following the announcement of Burke as EVP.

“I liked Smith. I liked his vision,” wrote Gould.  “And I saw value in placing Hop Culture — functionally a content and event producer — with the single largest network of beer drinkers in the world.”  The acquisition process happened faster than anticipated, said Gould, who as a part of the deal will become the Creative Director for all Next Glass brands while attending business school, starting in 2021.  

According to the Next Glass, the Untappd app has 8 million users, nearly every U.S.-based brewery maintains their corresponding Untappd page, and nearly 12,500 international breweries do the same.   Nearly 4,000 breweries globally use Untappd for Business, which provides menu-publishing software.