The secret to really great beer? It’s not great hops, the right aging barrel, or even really great company — it’s data. When it comes to giving the people what they want, you’ve gotta go straight to the source, and what better way to tap into the consumers’ mindsets than by analyzing tons and tons of social media information? The digital delights of the 21st century have now officially manifested themselves in alcohol, so please, hug the next data scientist you meet. Their jobs are so much cooler than we thought they were.
The newest craft beer comes from Havas Helia — it’s not a brewery, but rather a British company that uses “data, technology, intuition, and creativity to connect people to brands in a meaningful way.” Really, they’re a marketing agency with one of the most compelling stories in 2016 thus far — a crowdsourced, data-driven beer.
At the end of 2015, Havas Helia sought to create a beer that would encapsulate the general feelings of good cheer that come along with each new year. And being good scientists, they decided to run a thorough experiment that involved analyzing social media posts for “emotional keywords,” and then comparing these thousands of messages to a series of predetermined emotional states. This allowed the company to conclude that there were 38 distinct emotions associated with the beginning of 2016, including amazement, harmony, generosity, indulgence, excitement, optimism, resolution, love, and of course, good cheer.
Then, Havas Helia employed IBM’s Watson in one of its more innovative forms: recipe building. Using Watson Alchemy technology, the British company examined 2800 recipes with criteria that included their ingredients, tasting notes, and expert reviews. Watson Personality Insights was then employed to assign a key word to each of these recipes — they could be categorized as “assertive,” “friendly,” “intelligent,” and a number of other personifying characteristics.
Based on Watson’s determinations, Havas Helia then pulled the top 10 beers that aligned most closely with the 38 New Year emotions. And then, the magic happened — the creative agency took the most common ingredients from those 10 beers, created a new beer, and called it 0101.
So what’s in this magical elixir? The “fine tasting cream ale” includes honey, and both the Nelson Sauvin and Hallertauer varietals of hops. 0101’s website explains, “Honey for love and cheerfulness — Nelson Sauvin for optimism, imagination and resolution — and Hallertauer for excitement and emotion.” Independent microbrewery High Peak Brew Co., based in Chapel-En-Le-Frith, Darbyshire, England, was tasked with the exciting job of actually making the beer, but unfortunately, only 500 bottles were manufactured.
But don’t worry — if you want to taste optimism, love, and imagination, with “gentle overtones of excitement” and “light notes of intellect,” all you have to do is win (of course) a social media contest of sorts. Havas Helia wants you to head over to its beer’s website, where you’ll have to drop them a line and share their story. And just maybe, you’ll be able to taste straight data.
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