Using Artificial Intelligence in Whiskey-Making

by | Jul 2, 2024 | Wine & Spirits

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Whiskey-making has been around for more than 1,000 years. In the time since whiskey was first made in the early 1000s, as new technology has emerged, it has been added to the whiskey-making process. There has always been a blending of the traditional with the new as the product has evolved over time.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the latest such technology to be added to the mix. AI is already being used to enhance some of the procedures involved in whiskey-making. But there’s also excitement about the potential of what AI could do for the industry down the road.

AI and flavoring

Technology will never fully replace humans when it comes to taste – whether that is in the testing process or the ultimate taste test, which is when the customer is drinking the final product. More and more, though, technology is involved in developing the flavors that affect that product’s taste.

In wine-making, technology has influenced how vineyards can check for the presence of spoilages at different stages of a wine’s development. With some whiskey-making, AI is being used to help create flavor profiles. By studying language from whiskey reviews or a company’s own data, AI can generate a recipe geared towards customer preferences. The data could include sales data and historical recipes, and for some companies could result in a re-creation of the taste of high-end whiskeys at a more affordable price point for some customers.

Streamlining and sustainability

Not unlike farming or other development processes, analytics can help track the distillation process. Some whiskey makers are using AI tools to help ensure the optimal conditions needed to produce whiskey the same way at every stage of the process using sensors and analytics.

The efficiencies gained from the use of AI help some whiskey makers in their efforts to make a positive impact on the environment. By optimizing resource usage, they are using less energy, and in many cases, they are reducing waste. There are different ways companies can take what they are doing and apply it to their environmental goals. Glenfiddich, for example, has used its liquid waste to make fuel for its delivery trucks.



Potential customization

Some industry experts are already thinking ahead to how AI could be used in the future. Similar to how some companies are already using AI to essentially crowd source popular flavors, whiskey makers could eventually introduce customized batches of whiskey for individual customers.

Almost any company is looking for ways to personally connect to customers. With AI, distillers could have the ability to make whiskey on an individual scale in a way that doesn’t increase cost the way it could have in the past. It might cost some more money for the customer, but the whiskey makers are counting on the idea that whiskey lovers would be willing to pay the price for their own personal whiskey.

The use of artificial intelligence isn’t strictly for the production of whiskey. Some whiskey companies are using AI to educate their staffs. Some of that education is about their product itself, but some of it is in an effort to retain staff. Rather than going out and hiring people with different skills, some companies are using AI programs to teach new skills to the staff they already have. Workers can choose which skills they want to work on, whether it is marketing or related to the supply chain, and the AI will customize their learning.

For centuries, whiskey makers didn’t really have a choice when it came to how they handled production. While those methods led to a product that has stood for generations, the business surrounding whiskey making has certainly evolved. Not every organization needs to use artificial intelligence to improve their process. But if they aren’t putting their data to work in some way, they are likely to fall behind.

Whiskey makers can use analytics to find efficiencies at any step of their process. The right analytics solution can take any data an organization has and turn it into actionable insights that allow business decisions to be made that will help the bottom line. Data doesn’t have to take the place of the traditional methods some whiskey makers have used for years. But it can certainly enhance the work that is being done to make sure that whiskey reaches its customers for many more years to come.

John Sucich
Follow me

You may also like