Artificial intelligence has infiltrated – or potentially infiltrated – almost every industry in some way or form, now it’s taking on beer and whiskey makers in what may be a perfectly symbiotic relationship.

You’re no doubt expecting to hear the story of a small startup that thinks it’s found a cool product that will most likely lead to nothing, but we’re talking about Microsoft. One of the world’s most important businesses has partnered with a Sweedish distillery called Mackmyra Whisky to combine the cognitive services of Azure cloud and the knowledge of experienced master distillers.

Here’s how it works: whiskey isn’t created off a set recipe; much like gin distilling, different ingredients and aromatics are added to create a unique flavour that is usually distinct to the particular region the alcohol is from. It’s why whiskey from different countries tastes different – because not all ingredients are readily available in all regions. Additionally, the barrels within which the whiskey is aged need to be turned and this impacts on the flavour, as does the season and humidity and…there are many other inputs to creating a great tasting drink.

Microsoft aims to revolutionise the industry by complimenting the existing experience of the masters by adding an AI component. Firstly, because the ingredients are seasonal, the AI will take into account when various products are at their best, what should be added and when and what the impact will be on the final product.

Luckily for all master distillers, Microsoft hasn’t (yet) found a way to teach AI how to use it’s intuition so for the time being, their jobs are safe.
For the time being.