Is Artificial Intelligence the Right Mixer for Beverage Alcohol?

Lizzy Connolly | October 30, 2023

It’s hard to avoid headlines discussing artificial intelligence (AI) these days, whether it’s how ChatGPT is being used in court cases or how teachers must learn to spot computer-generated essays. But how could this technology impact the beverage alcohol industry? Is AI already being used, and if so, how?

Let’s see how AI is currently being served in bev alc, and what it could – possibly – mean for the future of drinks.

How is AI currently being used – and how could that change?

A common way that AI can benefit bev alc is through consumer research and analysis. Companies can take a deeper dive into customer purchasing patterns and work to create actionable information from massive data sets.

For example, AI has been found to increase engagement, purchase intent and actual product orders. DRINKS, a company that enables alcohol e-commerce for retailers, online marketplaces and alcohol companies, conducted a study to see how more relevant customer recommendations generated by AI can impact wine purchases.

Based on bottle and label attributes and inferred customer behavior, the study showed increases in engagement (113%), click through rates (117%), addition of products to cart (118%) and product favoring (133%).

The rise of ChatGPT – a chatbot capable of generating text by utilizing user-entered prompts and pulling from its large language model and data – has led to amusing scenarios where people have it rewrite favorite TV shows, but it could also be utilized in marketing. Organizations might use AI for assistance in writing emails, crafting social media posts or compiling basic blog posts (this particular post was 100% written by a human, I promise).

Chatbots have long been utilized for customer support, answering basic questions and responding to customers to help determine where that customer should be routed to or what type of help they may need from a company.

But how close to Skynet are we actually getting? Hopefully not very, but some companies have started to use AI when it comes to creating alcoholic drinks. Several years ago, Japanese-based Sapporo announced that it would be using AI to help develop new products for its ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails. Marketers would input a general concept into the AI, choose flavor descriptors (e.g., sharp, sour) and even use past Sapporo products as a reference.

Similarly, AB InBev launched Beck’s Autonomous earlier this year – a beer and marketing campaign created with AI.

“AI created a recipe that uses local German produce and 100% natural ingredients. The concept that AI created a pure recipe we found super exciting. It certainly knows it’s beer and what makes Beck’s so delicious,” Beck’s marketing director, Laura Salway, told the drinks business.

AI designed the beer name, container and custom logo, and even was used to prepare all advertising campaign assets. A trial run of 450 cans was set to be available in the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy in April.

The human element still matters

As with most things though, there can be too much of a good thing. ChatGPT is far from perfect, and there have been documented cases of plagiarism – specifically within the wine industry – and of the chatbot taking liberties with its definition of “real” scenarios. When utilizing AI, it’s important to check that you have not gotten fully plagiarized work or that something is untrue.

Organizations should still work to anticipate new and updated regulations in bev alc that encompass outputs from AI and humans alike. Remember: bad behavior, whether human or AI driven, will be frowned upon by regulators.

What does the future hold?

While we can’t predict the future, we do know that technology and the bev alc industry as a whole are continuously evolving. Big data and analytics have evolved into AI that can design new types of alcoholic beverages, but the overarching goal remains the same: give the customers what they want.

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Learn more about how ShipCompliant Direct can help your organization stay current with DtC shipping in the ever-evolving beverage alcohol industry.