Instagram welcomes professional photographers, amateur auteurs and retired octogenarians to upload and share photographs of their passion projects. There are shots of grown men posing with action figures, screenshots of cringe-worthy text exchanges and even an account dedicated to Barbie’s head (yes, just her head).
In 2013, Caroline Campion spent her time populating her Instagram account with personal photos and portraits of different craft beers she’d tried while in grad school at the University of Minnesota. But it wasn’t until one of her images was photobombed by a curious feline did she discover a brand new audience interested in her two biggest loves: cats and beer.
“I wanted to engage with and learn more about the craft beer community through social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram,” the Dallas, Texas resident says. “One day our cat, Rosie, photobombed our Untappd [a beer app] photo check-in for Nebraska Brewing Company’s ‘Romancing the Cone’ IPA.”
Rosie, a Russian Blue mix, and her photo were a watershed moment that led to the birth of CatsOnTap—an Instagram account dedicated entirely to cats posing with craft beers. The reaction to CatsOnTap was immediate, and the account now has close to 20K followers and is responsible for the popularity of the hashtag #beercat.
Campion began receiving so many messages and comments requesting CatsOnTap stickers or merchandise that, in October 2016, she sketched out a concept for the CatsOnTap logo. From there, she opened the CatsOnTap Etsy store which sells stickers, shirts and beer glasses. A dollar of every pint glass sold goes to Good Neighbors Animal Rescue in Dallas.
“We enjoy seeing how our fans and followers use the CatsOnTap merchandise in their homes and adventures,” Campion says. “We’ve received photos of cats posing with the glassware full of tasty beers and folks wearing the shirts to local breweries.”
A medical researcher by day (Campion focuses on new ways to treat lung, breast and ovarian cancer), the CatsOnTap community and store is a welcome respite from her full-time job.
“At times, my research is stressful and challenging. Posting pictures on CatsOnTap and interacting with our community brings moments of levity and joy throughout my day,” she says. “I do hope that it does the same for our followers.”
Em Sauter has submitted several pics of her three-year-old domestic short hair, Milbo, to CatsOnTap over the years, and Sauter and Campion even collaborated on a comic for CatsOnTap starring Rosie on Sauter’s website.
“A former co-worker at the brewery [where I worked] told me about CatsOnTap,” Sauter says. “I was instantly enamored with the account and wanted to get our brewery featured. Mainly, it was an excuse to take pictures of my cat and our beer without my boss scratching his head.”
But is CatsOnTap an account about beer or are the felines more the focus of the snapshots?
“Cat people like it for the fun array of cat photos and beer people like it because it highlights so many interesting and fun craft brews from all over the world,” says Sauter.
Campion believes the account is a healthy mix of both—Rosie and Campion’s second cat, Milly, still make regular appearances—and still holds true to the reason she created it in the first place.
“I wanted to foster an interactive community where people who are just as passionate about cats and craft beer can digitally congregate and share their own #beercat adventures,” she says.
Chris Illuminati is an author, blogger, and stand-up comic whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, BroBible, Men’s Health, and many other publications.