In 1976, Sharon Burns and Tom Porter decided to formalize the popular pub quizzes of Northern England as a marketing tool for bar and tavern owners to increase business. Starting in Southern England, the pair travelled from one end of Great Britain to the other, organizing teams and leagues throughout the country. Their efforts paid off to such a degree that a 2009 study estimated there were 22,445 regular weekly pub quizzes in the United Kingdom. That same study placed the number of pub quiz events in the United States at only approximately 2,000, however, a fact that John Dicker and Joel Peach attempted to change in 2006 with the introduction of Geeks Who Drink.
“The whole impetus for the founding of Geeks Who Drink was that bar trivia, especially at that time, was just really, really bad,” explains Geeks Who Drink acting director of marketing Ken Brill. “It wasn’t terribly imaginative, it wasn’t terribly interesting, and to be honest, most of the folks who hosted, their format was ask a question, play a song, give you the answer to the question. Do that for an hour and a half and call it a night. John and Joel both looked at that and thought, ‘We can do better than this.’ And from there they came up with a format they thought was more engaging.” John Dicker and Joel Peach organized their first bar trivia night in Denver in 2005, officially launching Geeks Who Drink in February of the following year. By 2007, Albuquerque had joined the fray with San Antonio and Austin coming on board in 2008 and Seattle in 2009.