Beer Run Gives College Buddies Idea

This is refreshing to hear.

Two SoCal college buddies are doing their parts to help others get a head during the economic downturn. David Echanique and Brandon McKenney launched -- kind of like Orbitz for beer.

The website lists the 10 best beer deals at larger retail stores by community. For example, a 12-pack of Heineken Thursday morning cost $13.99 at the Albertson's on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica. But drive a few blocks west to a Vons in the 1300 block and you'll save $3.

Is it worth the drive? Just look at the embedded Google maps under the price graph and decide. The maps show markers for each store.

McKenney, a junior at Orange Coast College, and Echanique, a junior at Cal State Fullerton, developed the concept after tapping into their limited business backgrounds -- McKenney is a Philosophy major and Echanique studies Political Science, but they know a good deal on beer when they see it.

"We noticed a fluctuation in the price of beer," Echanique said. "We'd buy case for $24.99 then see it the next morning at the supermarket for $16.99. We'd check ads, and it was worthwhile to check prices."

The duo bellied up to the bar of opportunity with a computer programmer friend and launched their site, starting with locations in Fullerton before expanding last month to all of Southern California. The site began listing prices in Las Vegas and Arizona Tuesday.

After researching the prices, Echanique and McKenney deserve a drink -- but always in moderation.

"I don't drink that much," Echanique said.

Probably because he doesn't have time. Echanique and McKenney e-mail retail chains, check ads, call stores and double check everything to make sure prices are accurate. Echanique said most price changes occur in the evening, and a lot of stores change prices on Tuesdays.

McKenney was up from midnight to 6 a.m. during one all-night price check last weekend.


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"So far, we've had one error on pricing that someone pointed out -- it was just a typo," Echanique said.

The next generation of will allow users to search by beer.

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