With the Denver's eating and drinking scene exploding all around him, Casey Berry realized that he was stuck in a rut. "I was kind of getting sick of my friends always wanting to go to the same LoDo bars," he explains. "There's nothing wrong with those bars, but there's a lot more to do in Denver than the big sports bars downtown."
And if he had that problem, he thought, other people in this city probably had it, too. "Most people have five or six go-to spots," he says. "I had this feeling that people can do Denver a little better. There's so much to do here, it's hard to navigate it sometimes. It's tough to have that guide, and with budget and time constraints, it's hard to figure out your next big thing for a Saturday night."
Out of that sentiment, an idea was born: Berry is about to launch Imbibe, an experience-oriented deal site that's meant to give people an incentive to go out and explore aspects of the city they've never before discovered.
But this isn't a coupon site, he promises. "We'll be selling packages to get people out and exploring restaurants, bars and different scenes," says Berry. "We'll try to hook people up with a discount, but instead of the $10 for $20 approach, we're selling experiences: $10 for pizza and beers, for instance. It's tough when you're our age and you see a $15 cocktail on a list. Sometimes that's hard to justify. That's why we're putting together a package for, say, two drinks and some food. That way, you get to try everything and taste things. You get out of your comfort zone a little bit and try different things."
The purpose, he says, is to give buyers a real feel for what a place is about so that they'll add it to their list of regular stops. "We're really trying to showcase places," he says. "You know that feeling you get when you find out about someplace new and you go there and it's awesome? That's what we're trying to do. We're not just trying to sell packages -- we want to give people that. People who are our age want to be on the inside track."
Imbibe plans to sell all kinds of experiences, but Berry says he's focusing on booze. "We've got the best brew scene in the country, awesome upcoming distilleries and cocktail artists that have become really big out here," he says. "Instead of someone ordering a Bud Light, we'd like them to go to a new brewery for a beer or go to a restaurant and try the cocktail list."
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Berry says the site will also throw events at the same kind of places its packages will promote. "We'll try to work with lots of different places in Denver that people haven't explored yet," he adds..
After working out details, Berry says he'll be ready to launch Imbibe at the end of next month. "We'll do two events in May and June, and two or three packages," he says. "We'll roll out slow to make sure we're doing it right."
In the meantime, he'll be updating the progress -- and letting patrons know when they can sign up for offers -- via Imbibe's Facebook page.