Japanese brewery using generative AI to dream up new beverages

Maybe check the label before you next sip a Kirin alcopop?

With less than two weeks remaining in 2023, The Register thinks we've almost reached the point at which we can prove Nothing Is Safe From AI – thanks to an announcement that Japan's Kirin Holdings, purveyor of many fine beers, has enlisted a binary brainbox to brew ideas for new products.

The announcement explains that the drink manufacturer interviews customers to learn how they feel about its products – a process that can take up to 50 hours.

It's unclear if interviews require that length of time because they're preceded by a tasting session, which The Register imagines could make the opinions offered rather hard to understand. Whatever the reason, Kirin feels its interview process slows down its product development process.

AI is being tested as the means to do better.

Thankfully, it's only being used to develop the Kirin Hyoketsu range of ready-to-drink (RTD) products – the sort of thing also known as "alcopop" in some countries – which the brewer offers in flavors including plum, peach, grapefruit, and sparkling chardonnay.

Such beverages are often released in seasonal and/or promotional variations. In July Kirin launched an apple flavoured variant that machine translation tells us delivers "the freshness of unripe green apples with a hint of sourness" and was shipped in a can that "has a sizzle of fresh fruit and a background reminiscent of early summer sunlight, creating a design that evokes the 'refreshing deliciousness' that you want to drink in early summer."

Make mine a double … not!

Kirin hopes AI can shrink the product development cycle for this sort of thing by having generative AI consider the surveys conducted during customer interviews. Prompting the model with questions about product concepts and flavors is hoped to deliver insights that can be used to devise new products.

Kirin's AI therefore adds text-to-booze to the list of AI capabilities. Thankfully the results will be tested by humans before being foisted on the public.

There's no sign the beverage giant intends to use this tech for beer – although the proliferation of thin, acidic, fruit-infused messes your correspondent keeps finding at his local suggest more intelligence is currently needed in the brewing caper. ®

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