With over 4,000 craft breweries in the United States alone, people are having trouble finding unique names for their beers. That’s a problem, because when two breweries accidentally use the same name, it results in potential confusion at best and at worst, a legal battle. Litigation over craft beer trademarks is noticeably on the rise.
I decided to find out whether a neural network can help.
A neural network is a type of computer program that, among its many talents, can learn to imitate datasets just by looking at enough examples. I’ve used them to name kittens, metal bands, Pokemon, paint colors, and more.
I knew I wanted to train the neural network separately for different kinds of beers. Different categories of beers have their own distinct naming conventions; in theory, you should roughly be able to tell a stout from an IPA from a double IPA by the name alone.
Ryan Mandelbaum of Gizmodo sparked this project by putting me in touch with Andy Haraldson, who very generously provided me with a huge dataset of hundreds of thousands of beer names that he extracted from BeerAdvocate.com. There were over 90 types of beer in the full dataset (for example, black ales, belgian dark ales, euro dark lagers, schwarzbier, dark wheat ales, and english mild dark ales). To make the task manageable (and to combine a few datasets that only had a few hundred unique names) Eva Gulotty sorted them into broader groups. And then I set the neural network to work on each category.
It worked. The neural network produced unique names that were plausible, or weirdly awesome, or so outlandish that they sounded like the sort of beer you could only buy after a multi-day scavenger hunt involving hang gliding, codebreaking, and Fairbanks, Alaska.
I give you: craft beer names, invented by neural network.
Earth Dock IPA
Bigly Bomb Session IPA
Jain Is The Dog
Earth 2 Sanebus
Tower Of Ergelon
Juicy Dripple IPA
Flying Rocks IPA
Yall In Wool
Text 5 Of The IPA
Cockamarin Hard IPA
Test Tha IPA
Widee Banger Fripper IPA
Oarahe Momnila Day Revenge Bass Cornationn Yerve Of Aterid Ale
Strong Pale Ales (Doubles, Triples, etc)
The Great Rebelgion
Sip’s The Stunks Belgian Tripel
Track Of The Wind
Spore Of Gold
Brother Panty Tripel
The Oldumbrett’s Ring
The Vunker The Finger
Gunder Of Traz
Cherry Boof Cornester
Humple La Bobstore Barrel Aged
Thrennt Rem Wine Barrel Aged Monkay Tripel
Warmel Halce’s Comput Ale
La Cat Tas Oo Ma Ale
Ole Blood Whisk
Frog Trail Ale
Ricias Donkey Brain
O'Busty Irish Red
Helusto’s Humpin’ Red
Rickin Organic Red Deaath
River Smush Hoppy Amber Ale
Special North Wish Leifstic Imperial Red
Ambre O Woo’s Omella Imperial Red Ale
I The Moon
The Bopberry Stout
Cherry Coconut Mint Chocolate Stout
Black Sink Stout
Barrel Aged Chocolate Milksmoke
Morning Dave - Vanilla Coffee Stout
Jrankers Java Stout
Spulgican’s Chocolate Coconut Pamper
Cherry Trout Stout
Bold Oot Stout
Pimperdiginistic The Blacksmith W/ Cherry Stout
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(Beer label templates from http://www.grogtag.com/)