Your Next Beer Might Be Made by Artificial Intelligence
Beer has a rich history in London. Even before the British Empire, Shakespeare or Buckingham Palace, people were crowding into pubs to gulp down local ales. Versions of pale ales, IPAs and porters were created in the U.K. long before they were trendy favorites on California and New York's microbrew scenes.
Now a small startup is attempting to add its own twist to London's beer-making tradition. The company, IntelligentX, has invented a beer-recipe algorithm that determines the amount of hops, water, yeast and grain that should go into each beer. Four styles have been made and each version is adjusted by the algorithm based on customer feedback. Every bottle's label lists a website where people can go to answer questions about what was good or bad about the brew. Levels of carbonation, bitterness and alcohol content all change based on how people are responding. The algorithm produces new recipes every month incorporating the feedback.
"There are too many brands out there that just have one recipe for a beer, and they've had it for 60 years," said Hew Leith, co-founder of IntelligentX, the maker of the beer appropriately named AI. "We're not about that. We're about using data to listen to our customers, get all that feedback, and then brew something that's more attuned to what they actually want and need."
The beer is made in small batches, and some customers haven't loved the taste of the algorithm-crafted recipes. But Leith says the beer points to new ways that customers could someday give feedback on products like coffee, chocolate or perfume. "This same technique could be used," he says.