Drink AI From Sapporo Holdings Helps Create New Refreshing Beverages
Japan brewed an interesting cocktail of artificial intelligence and beverage making. Brewer Sapporo Holdings is using AI to facilitate product development.
It partnered with IBM Japan to produce an AI program that can “produce over 1 trillion combinations” for new flavors.
As a result, the drink AI halves the time needed to develop new products. More importantly, it helps the company meet the rapidly-growing demand for Japanese alcoholic drinks.
How does Sapporo’s drink AI work?
To demonstrate how it works, let’s say you are a Sapporo marketer who wants to create a refreshing summer drink using the beverage-making AI.
You would start by entering a general concept into the machine, such as “drink that tastes like a cool summer breeze.”
Then, you would select up to ten flavor descriptors like “sour” or “sharp.” Moreover, you can choose one of 170 past Sapporo products as a reference.
The drink AI will generate 100 possible formulations for the product in seconds, based on 1,200 previous formulations and 700 ingredients.
Also, the app will rate the flavors on a scale of 100 based on how closely it resembles the initial description.
Soichi Sakashita from the Sapporo unit of Sapporo Breweries said, “theoretically, the system can produce over 1 trillion combinations.”
The entire process of creating a new flavor, from market analysis to consumer feedback, usually takes four to six months.
Sakashita explained the main goal of Sapporo’s drink AI is to expedite the process.
“We could double the speed of the testing cycle and eventually triple it once we have the know-how,” he said.
Moreover, the technology could help the company come up with never-before-tasted flavors.
Unlike humans, AI does not have any biases or notions about creating drinks. As a result, a Sapporo innovation expert said, “we could use unexpected formulas as our secret sauce.”
For example, the drink AI suggested replacing vodka and other spirits with beer to create heavier cocktails.
Also, Sapporo hopes to use its drink AI to accept beverage ideas from customers and quickly distribute samples to the market.
The drink AI program from Sapporo Holdings will help the company produce hundreds of new flavors quickly.
Still, it would likely need humans to test the final product before releasing it to the market. After all, computers do not have taste buds as people do!
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