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Beer that gets better with every batch: The promise of AI-made beer

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 16 December 2016, 21:31 IST

Beer will never taste the same. Or at least it will taste better and better with each batch. Robots and artificial intelligence are ruining or improving, depending on how you look it, society as we know it. Now, one of the world's oldest beverages, beer, is getting a little bit of help from artificial intelligence.

London-based IntelligentX is behind the first artificial intelligence-brewed beer. The AI uses what is known as reinforcement learning from the help of Intelligent Layer and creative agency 10x.

The relatively new startup uses an algorithm called Automated Brewing Intelligence (ABI) and collects customer feedback data through a Facebook Messenger bot. This helps it improves the recipes of its beer, and with every batch the taste gets just that much better. The algorithm determines the amount of grain, yeast, hops and water that should ideally go into each beer.

A pint of AIle

Until now, four different varieties - Golden AI, Amber AI, Pale AI and Black AI - have been made. However, none of them will ever really have a constant formula. Each of the four are being constantly adjusted based upon the customer feedback received.

At just £4.50 each, they may not exactly be light on the pocket just yet, but they're bound to get cheaper with time. In fact, considering that they are only going to get better, they're probably the only beers that are likely to get cheaper and cheaper the better they get.

They are brewed along the Bermondsey Beer Mile in London. Furthermore, there is a website listed on each bottle's label where people can go and answer questions about that particular brew. The questions are based upon the preference and flavour. While most of the answers are on a scale of 1 to 10, some are yes or no questions and others are multiple choice.

The future of beer is AI

The ultimate aim of the company and its brews is to win a major beer competition. The beer first went on sale back in July and ever since then, the company has been constantly selling out. Not everyone is in love with the brews, but that's expected.

The more they sell, the smarter the AI gets and the end result is a better brew. While most beer companies do take on board the feedback of customers, the AI here helps speed up the process of collection and sorting of data, putting it into practice almost instantly.

Eventually, the technology behind this can be used to give feedback on things like chocolates, perfumes, coffee and more. This raises the possibility of a world in which even mass made products will be tailor-made.

The only downside of this technology is that less humans will be needed in the crafting of a beer. Couple that with the world's first contactless payment and self-service beer pump that is currently being installed in various bars and pubs around the United Kingdom. Called Pay@Pump, it allows the customer to order and pour their own pint and pay for it via a contactless card that is touched on a pad on the pump. The technology behind this has been brought to market by Barclaycard.

While all the automation might cut a bit of employment in the beer industry, any serious beer drinker probably wont care as long as it means his/her beer tastes better and reaches faster.

First published: 16 December 2016, 21:31 IST
 
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.

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