Artificial intelligence is capable of doing many things. It can perform complex tasks, beat humans at their own game, and now it can even create whisky. Sweden-based Mackmyra Whisky distillery has teamed up with Finnish tech company Fourkind and Microsoft to create the world’s first whisky developed with artificial intelligence.
Master Distillers are artists in their own right. They spend years constantly experimenting, tasting, and tweaking every process of making whisky to extract the best flavors possible. That’s what the artificial intelligence is trying to do here.
Whisky is aged for at least three years in wooden casks to develop the intense aroma, flavor, and color we’re used to seeing. That’s the minimum, it’s actually aged for much longer than that. It’s after the maturation phase that a Master Distiller can make countless permutations of whisky. The different blends of ingredients and casks to make infinite flavor combinations have always been selected by humans.
This job has now been turned over to the AI. The distillery’s machine learning models are powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and cognitive services. They are fed with Mackmyra’s existing recipes, sales data, and customer preferences. The AI uses this data to generate more than 70 million recipes which it predicts will be popular and of the highest quality based on the types of casks in the warehouse.
“While the whisky recipe is created by AI, we still benefit from a person’s expertise and knowledge, especially the human sensory part, that can never be replaced by any program. We believe that the whisky is AI-generated, but human-curated. Ultimately, the decision is made by a person,” said Angela D’Orazio, Master Blender at Mackmyra. Fancy a taste? Mackmyra’s AI-generated whiskey will be available starting the fall this year.