Swedish distillery partners Microsoft to brew first AI-generated whiskey

SWEDEN – Mackmyra Whisky, a Swedish single malt whisky distillery has in collaboration with Fourkind, a Finnish technology consultancy and Microsoft created the world’s first AI-developed whiskey.

Mackmyra’s AI whiskey was developed through machine learning and models powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and AI cognitive services.

It involves a dataset analysis which combines Mackmyra’s existing recipes (including those for award-winning blends), sales data and customer preferences.

The new whiskey, which is expected to hit markets in August 2019 features a flavor profile described as “vanilla with fine oak notes, fruits with citrus & pear, herbal spices with slight tobacco leaves and a very small hint of smoke.”

Mackmyra says the whiskey is completely computer generated and the recipe has not been altered in any way.

“The main challenge was that the input data for the machine learning was sparse. We knew the ratings and the awards of whiskey blends had received, but some of that data was, in a sense, contradictory,” said Jarno Kartela, Principal Machine Learning Partner at Fourkind.

“For instance, one recipe could have been really well received by the general public, but not as much in prominent whiskey competitions.”

Will AI replace Master Blender?

The AI technology is set to benefit food and beverage manufactures in creation of new recipes and flavors, reducing the amount of time during product development.

According to the companies, the AI can generate more than 70 million recipes that it predicts will be most popular and of the highest quality.

They, however, argue the AI solution is not designed to replace a Master Blender as AI-generated whiskey formulations will still be produced by human hands and subjected to final tastings.

“Algorithms don’t have senses, so we need another take on how to understand something so complex as.

“Although lacking human expertise, we can teach machines to understand what elements previous recipes and products are made of and how they are perceived and ranked by customers and experts,” said Kartela.

Carlsberg is another company that has also collaborated in AI research into beer flavors and aromas.

“The Beer Fingerprinting Project” is a multi-million-dollar investment in a research study to develop a novel brewer’s yeast for application in craft, specialty, core and alcohol-free beers.

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