Mackmyra

This week, we’ve seen examples of both beer and whiskey made with the aid of A.I.

Mike Pomranz
Updated May 17, 2019

At some point long ago, humans evolved into intelligent beings. With this new gift, mankind was able to tackle many new tasks — including making booze. With that in mind, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that now that humans are creating computers imbued with artificial intelligence, we’re using those computers to… make booze. People just like alcohol. What can I say?

This week, Sweden’s Mackmyra distillery began touting “the world’s first AI-created whisky.” The brand says this special blend was made by feeding information like its recipes, sales data, and customer preferences into Microsoft's Azure cloud platform and AI cognitive services. The computer can then generate over 70 million new recipes including, importantly, “innovative combinations that would otherwise never have been considered,” the brand writes. From there, the project still requires human intervention to pick a final blend. “While the whisky recipe is created by AI, we still benefit from a person's expertise and knowledge,” Mackmyra’s Master Blender Angela D’Orazio stated. “We believe that the whisky is AI-generated, but human-curated. Ultimately, the decision is made by a person.”

Mackmyra

Mackmyra says its AI-generated whisky will be available starting this fall — which is pretty soon when you consider that D’Orazio apparently has about 70 million recipes to look through.

Meanwhile, yesterday, Adweek reported on a project from the Brooklyn-based ad agency Huge that used machine learning in an attempt to figure out the “ideal” beer recipe. Huge took six years of in-house beer tasting notes, as well as loads of online beer reviews from multiple sources, and used computer analysis of this information to see if they could brew a beer everyone would like. Their results: a hazy IPA with blackberries and a milkshake IPA with raspberry.

Huge

Huge’s Kenny Chung admitted that they skewed the data towards the kind of beers the agency has been into more recently. “The ingredients have shifted over the years,” he told Adweek. “We were looking back at the first year or two of ratings and the beers that won back then were just a really good standard IPA and sometimes even an American pilsner. These days, I doubt we even have a standard IPA winning on a weekly basis.”

Unfortunately, Huge isn’t licensed to sell beer, so these homebrewed creations aren’t available to the public. But don’t worry: At this pace, it won’t be long before all of our alcoholic beverages are made by computers anyway.

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