Mackmyra's Gravity Distillery in Sweden.
Sweden’s Mackmyra distillery is partnering with Microsoft and Finnish technology firm Fourkind to create the world’s first whisky developed with artificial intelligence (AI).
Mackmyra’s machine learning models, powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and AI cognitive services, are fed with its existing recipes, sales data and customer preferences. With this dataset, the AI can generate more than 70 million recipes that it predicts will be popular.
The distiller said that thanks to the algorithm’s ability to sift through and calculate a vast amount of data, new and innovative combinations that would otherwise never have been considered can be found.
It stressed that the AI solution is not designed to replace a master blender; the idea is for the whisky to be generated by AI and still be curated by a person.
“We always strive to challenge the traditions in the very traditional whisky trade and that’s something we really do now when we develop a whisky with the help of AI,” said Angela D’Orazio, Mackmyra master blender.
“We see AI as a part of our digital development, it is really exciting to let AI be a complement to the craft of producing a high-quality whisky. For me as a master blender, it is a great achievement to be able to say that I’m now also a mentor for the first ever created AI whisky in the world.”
Jarno Kartela, machine learning partner at Fourkind, added: “Algorithms don’t have senses so we need another take on how to understand something so complex as whisky. 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.
“With this as a raw data asset, we can leverage a combination of explorative algorithms to generate endless new recipes and products and then use a set of discriminative algorithms to understand which of them might be great, repeating until better recipes are not found. This requires a lot from the computation side, as we need millions of iterations while keeping track of what worked and what did not before reaching a solid guess of a good new whisky.”
Mackmyra’s AI-generated whisky will be available from autumn 2019. Earlier this year, Mackmyra partnered with calvados producer Christian Drouin to release a single malt whisky that is finished in ex-calvados casks.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019