Have you ever walked into a liquor store and been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options? Wanted to try out a new spirit but were unsure of which brand to get? Well, thanks to the fine folks over at Proof66.com, there is an app for that. Liquor Hub aims to help you out with an app that delivers consumer and professional ratings for over 3,500 spirits. I’ve been playing with it for a couple of weeks, so lets take a look at some of the ups and downs of this app.

Liquor Hub has five main areas of interest, and we will take a look at them all. One thing to note is that since the app is tied to the database at proof66.com, an internet connection is required for the app, which is a bit of a bummer, but completely understandable.

Guru: The Guru helps you pick out a new spirit based upon regularly updated categories such as: Best of 2010, US Region, Awesome Marketing, Family Gifts, etc… Personally, this is my least favorite part of the app. Some of the categories are alright, but others seem very random in the spirits they suggest. The ‘For Your Health’ category is especially ridiculous. Bakon Vodka and Chipotle Liqueur are not going to make me more healthy, although perhaps the Smoked Salmon Vodka paired with the Eucalyptus Gum Leaf Vodak might. Some may find this section a novelty, but it doesn’t really do anything for me. If it wasn’t present, I do not think that I would find the app lacking. Also, hopefully I am enough of a Guru myself that I can find something new to try on my own.

Top 20: This is an extremely useful category as it displays the current list of top spirits in multiple categories. Proof66.com works on a rating system that takes into account scores from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Beverage Tasting Institute, Wine Enthusiast, as well as reviews by consumers on their website. As such, this list is constantly changing, and is an excellent place to start when looking for something new. The only complaint I have in this particular area, is that because the pro reviews are rated so high, spirits that have no scores post 2004 are not very highly ranked. While I understand the challenges of keeping this massive database updated, one of my favorite rums is no longer entered in many competitions after winning top honors for years, and therefore does not appear in the top 20, even though it should be at the top. I guess I’ll just have to get a bunch of people to like it and give it a positive review.

Search: Here we have some pretty cool functionality. Besides the standard search box, which allows you to search by name, distillery, flavor, or location, there is a barcode scanner which can be used to scan any bottle. Successfully scanning a barcode brings up the product page where you can get info on the product as well as it’s ratings and reviews. My two minor complaints about this section are, the scanner only works in landscape mode, which is a little bit of a pain when holding a bottle in your opposite hand. The other is that while this is a great feature, there are not barcodes for all the products in the proof66.com database. However, when no barcode is found, the option is provided for you to send an email to proof66 with the barcode number and product info. In time, I think this will be a valuable feature. I will probably end up scanning all my bottles to make sure they are added to the database.

Spirits: As you might have guessed, this is where you can find the entire database listed by category: Vodka, Liqueur, Rum, Whiskey, Tequila, Gin, Exotics. Under each category are sub-categories such as Flavored and Classic for base spirits, and descriptors for Liqueurs and Exotics. While I would maybe have split the exotics into their own categories or put them under some of the base spirits, it is still very well laid out and organized with one exception. Brandy. There is no brandy on this list. While I am not a super big brandy consumer, this is probably an area that I would benefit from having, as it is the area that I am the least knowledgeable of. Hennessy, Courvoisier, and Remy Martin are nowhere to be found in this app, which I find very surprising and a little disappointing.

Your Favorites: This is where the personalization happens. Products you like can be saved for the future, and are automatically linked to your account on Proof66.com where they can be added to a dream list, bar list, or shopping list. As this is an area that I will use a lot, I wish it had its own navigation icon at the bottom of the screen. I would choose the ability to easily navigate to my favorites over the Guru any day.

The app also features a decent list of interesting articles which range from informational to comedic to educational. All in all, this is an app that I highly recommend. At $0.99 it won’t break the bank, and you might just be rewarded by purchasing a bottle that becomes your favorite.

You can purchase this app HERE. Cheers!