Hop Circuit 2018: How to Drink Efficiently as Possible

A favourite pastime of ours at LGeo is supporting local businesses, and in particular local breweries. From the casual vibe to the friendly smiles, from the passion behind great beer to the knowledge supporting the process, there is no shortage of breweries to visit in East Vancouver’s brewing district, affectionately termed Yeast Van by many. This year Hop Circuit is hosting its 3rd annual open-door self-guided brewery tour on Sunday, April 22 from 1-5pm. During this time you can choose the breweries & distilleries (out of 17 total participants) that you want to visit and join in the various festivities as desired, or not and just fill yourself up with beer. Activities include behind-the-scene-tours, food trucks to keep you fed in between stops, and even a scavenger hunt to further increase your knowledge and enjoyment.

The challenge

With 17 breweries and an nearly infinite number of combinations of breweries & distilleries to visit in 5 hours, how does a participant at Hop Circuit tour and drink as efficiently as possible??? Well if there ever was a functional use for geospatial analysis, this surely is it.  Read below for what we did or jump right to the app if you can't stand to read an explanation. 

WHAT WE DID

To support your participation, we have tackled the traveling salesman problem (errr. traveling beer crawler problem), in other words finding the shortest possible route between all location combinations to optimize travel time.  Our results are presented in this app here to assist you in a) attending the event, b) hitting up as many breweries as possible in the most efficient manner, and c) to reduce the stress of planning where you are going, as well as travel during the event.

How you get to Hop Circuit is up to you but leave the planning to us and we will make sure you get the most brewery out of your Yeast Van adventure! Follow these simple steps to make it your best Hop Circuit:

1)      Choose a starting brewery on the right side of the map;

2)      Decide how many additional breweries you want to visit during the time that you have and select that number to the right of the brewery numbers;

3)      Watch the map pick the most efficient route to hit breweries near to your starting point;

4)      Enjoy the day!

HOW WE DID IT

Solving the traveling beer crawler problem is actually quite tricky and there are even whole journals devoted to route optimization.  With 17 stops and literally millions of combinations, we had to find some solution that saved us on processing power and reduced the number of optimization solutions.  While we here at LGeo has aspirations of genius even this one had us stumped.  Thankfully, there was easy way out, which is to simply brute force our through the calculations with a little help from some python combination libraries and some educated reasoning in route choices.  The results are functional and it only took us about two days in total to run the calculations. Check the figure below for all of the combinations with the optimized routes shown on top!

Value-Added OPTIMAL PRETZEL STAND LOCATION

For fun we used our GIS wizardry and calculated the optimal location for a pretzel cart, dependent on projected highest volume of foot traffic based on all breweries experiencing equal patronage throughout the day. To do this we took our optimal routes data created in the work above and used the a density tool to find the routes that are most commonly suggested by our web app. Tada – time to perfect your pretzel making abilities and make use of our analysis for pretzel volume sale optimization (you have two days!).

Optimal location for a pretzel stand April 22nd, 2018: Franklin and Commercial. Grab the mustard!

As always, comments, criticisms and kudos preferred though not in that order!

Happy beer touring and travel safely!

Aaron