The bar chain's app can even adapt to users' seasonal preferences.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated August 04, 2017
wob alegorithm
Credit: Courtesy of World of Beer

As a beer writer, it’s a question I get asked all the time: “What kind of beer will I like?” The answer can be surprisingly complex—mainly because the language of beer isn’t the same for everyone. If you like “lighter” beers, you may enjoy a nice pale ale… or maybe a light Belgian table beer… or maybe you would be happy with a literal Coors Light. But though humans may be imperfect at interpreting someone else’s beer preferences, World of Beer is hoping computers can do a better job. The bar chain has recently added an “ALEgorithm” to its app—billed as kind of a Netflix recommendations or Pandora radio for beer.

Inspired by similar services within Netflix, Amazon and Pandora, World of Beer—a Tampa-based chain that currently has 75 locations in 23 states, China and South Korea—said it launched the beer-algorithm in hopes of not just helping out customers but also speeding up service. “Our staff is really good at guiding people through the menu and helping them find something that fits their tastes,” Hannah Davis, senior director of brand marketing, said according to Nation’s Restaurant News. “But in order to make that interaction go a little bit smoother, we came up with ALEgorithm.”

Located within the World of Beer app, the service (which officially launched on July 11) requires customers to first take a survey about their tastes and beer preferences, then vote thumbs up or down on 50 random beers. From there, users are encouraged to rate new beers as they drink them which will further build the recommendation engine. “It is going to learn about you over time,” Davis said of the service that was developed by Paytronix, which also handles the company’s rewards program. “It could even change with you seasonally. We know a lot of people drink lighter beers in the summer and maybe a darker, more robust beer in the wintertime. It will shift with you over time.” As should probably be expected, the ALEgorithm can be used as a business tool for the brand as well. “Down the road, it will provide offers that are tailored to the individual consumer’s tastes,” said Davis.

Still, one big difference between this app and something like Pandora or Netflix is if you don’t like one of those recommendations, you just change to another song or movie. It’s much less fun being stuck with a pint of beer you don’t like. As a result, users should probably still take World of Beer up on its liberal try-before-you-buy policy.