RhoMania represents everything that is truly American. That genuine entrepreneurial spirit, that independence to pursue a dream, and that passion for great alcoholic beverages. I'll raise a glass or two to that.
But while the residents of Denver, Fort Wayne, and the startup's hometown of Pittsburgh may be familiar with the company and its drink-pairing and review Web app - Grail™ - you'd be forgiven for not knowing about it.
That's about to change if RhoMania CEO, Darren Olson, gets his way. And he probably will.
Olson, an MBA student at Carnegie Mellon University, started RhoMania back in 2011 with Kevin McEarhern, a fellow MBA student at CMU. Like the 130 million other Americans who enjoy a fine glass of wine, a seasonal IPA, or even a shot of sipping tequila, Olson decided to use his passion to use helping demystify the beverage experience by educating drinkers on the beverages available at a particular bar or restaurant.
In true Vegas form, Olson saw an opportunity and took a gamble; a gamble that is starting to pay off. The subscription-based Grail™ digital menu is now available in restaurants and bars in Colorado, Indiana, and across Pennsylvania.
But what exactly is Grail™, and how can it help restaurants increase sales?
In a nutshell (or in a beer glass, as it were), Grail™ is a Web app/digital menu that lists and reviews alcoholic beverages on an iPad – or smartphone – according to what's available at a particular restaurant. It's available as a monthly subscription service and helps restaurant owners increase beverage sales by up to 20%. Because, let's be honest, an informed guest is more likely to spend more on a lesser known alcohol brand.
"People are sitting up and taking notice of how useful the Grail™ digital menu is."
As the company keeps growing, it is setting its sights on other growing markets across the country, and eventually across the pond to other English-speaking, beer-swilling, wine-appreciating countries.
RhoMania plans to initially expand into the Las Vegas, Boston, Philadelphia, D.C., and Portland (Oregon) markets. Olson lived in Portland for 15 years, making it a particularly sweet spot for the innovative entrepreneur.
Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa will be the go-to markets in the company's international expansion plans.
These are big markets. And RhoMania has big plans.
"A lot has gone into making RhoMania successful," said Olson, "both personally and professionally. People are sitting up and taking notice of how useful the Grail™ digital menu is and we would love to roll it out to other countries once we have it in restaurants from New York to Los Angeles."