Is nothing sacred anymore?
First artificial intelligence (AI) came for our whiskey, with Silicon Valley taking all of the joy out of the ageing process to increase efficiency and lower costs.
Think of it as a side of capitalism with your drink, which is just what everyone wants when trying to take the edge off a long day, or meeting up with friends.
Now there’s IntelligentX, which creates four different varieties of beer using AI and machine learning.
Forbes is pleased about it, even if the rest of us are sceptical, so let’s give it a chance.
Is this brilliant or unbelievable? While it’s admittedly too soon to tell, using data to inform brewmasters’ decisions and the possibility of personalized brews makes AI-brewed beer definitely intriguing.
Brewing beer is an art and a science, and they reckon that AI can help with the latter.
No word on what happens to the former.
Hew Leith and Rob McInerney are the minds behind the process that goes into brewing the Black AI, Golden AI, Pale AI, and Amber AI.
They invite customers to follow a link on the bottles to answer 10 questions, giving their feedback through Facebook messenger. 80% of customers have filled out the survey which has amounted to more than 100 000 data points.
This data is then processed by an AI algorithm, and analysed by a brewer who decides whether or not to heed the algorithm’s advice.
Instead of replacing a brewmaster, Leith and McInerney believe AI gives insights to help a brewmaster be better equipped to make decisions based on customer feedback.
Yeah, but is someone really a brewmaster if their primary job is analysing data?
The idea is to eventually allow customers to customise their beer in accordance with their preferences. While this might sound like a great idea, it also removes the singular taste that a brewery crafts for each beer, which is what makes it unique.
Other companies are working on similar projects.
Carlsberg, a Copenhagen-based brewery, is using algorithms to analyse the taste ‘fingerprints’ of beers to create the perfect brew. Champion Brewing in the US is using machine learning to try and perfect the IPA.
A Swiss company launched Deeper, the first beer in the European country created with the assistance of AI, using an algorithm known as Brauer AI.
Then there’s this: To determine what makes a perfect foam, an Australian research team created RoboBEER, a robot who can pour a beer with such precision to create consistent foam pour after pour.
Sorry bartenders, but if this continues, you could be out of a job.
I prefer my beer to come with a bit of history, and a story with a human touch, which is why my preferred summer beer is, and always will be, an ice-cold Sol.
The story goes that in 1899, near Pico de Orizaba, the highest peak in Mexico, a brewer created a light, refreshing beer made from the water closest to the sun.
As he held up the beer, a ray of sun peeped through a hole in the roof onto the transparent bottle, inspiring the name Sol.
You have to admit, that’s a significantly better origin story than “a robot made it”.
So, honour thy beer, forget the AI, sit back, throw on a summer playlist and crack open a cold one.