Will Jim Powers' BeerCompass point the way to money?

Lou Carlozo

As a record industry executive and owner of Minty Fresh Records, Chicago's Jim Powers has proved his creativity and eye for talent time and again. He discovered the Cowboy Junkies, was one of the first to sing the praises of Liz Phair, brought the music of the Cardigans to America, and turned Ralph Covert from an aging club rocker into a kids-music phenom.

So why is a guy like Powers dabbling in the world of iPhone apps, especially those designed to sniff out beer? It turns out that Powers, a beer connoisseur, found himself intrigued by the possibility of turning a pastime passion into a viable cash cow. And so, BeerCompass was born -- an app that locates suds and pubs anywhere on the planet.

WalletPop spoke with Powers not long after BeerCompass went public to find out what inspired his sudsy smart-phone creation, and how his detour into applications has fared financially.

WalletPop: Where did the idea for BeerCompass come from? Where were you, how did the idea come to you, and what was your first impulse once the light bulb went off?

Powers:
I was talking with someone who was looking for marketing ideas for an app they were making for a festival, and I blurted out the idea of a compass dedicated to finding beer ... a "beer compass." I loved the idea and thought the compass had potential, so I made one.