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2019 AI in Practice: Disrupting the alcoholic beverage industry for new product innovations and impr

By Annie Pettit

67% of people believe AI will completely change the way we live and work.

73% of people believe AI will affect shopping and making purchases.

60% of people would feel comfortable with AI recommending what to eat based on their medical history.

Taken together, these facts from the third annual Sklar Wilton AI tracker* show that we’re ready for a world where AI underpins how people work, shop, eat, and drink. In fact, producers and marketers of wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages have been leveraging AI for numerous years. In a previous post, we discovered how retailers are using AI to improve online ordering, payment, and fulfillment experiences for customers, as well as in-store customer experiences. In this post, we’ll learn how alcoholic beverage producers and marketers are using AI to more effectively develop products to meet consumer needs and market those products to the right segments.

Understanding Consumer Desires 

Our AI tracker results show that 56% of people feel AI can provide recommendations on what to purchase and 27% say they are one of the first of their friends to try new products and services. Given that 40% of people are excited by the development of new AI technologies, AI could easily be the solution to the delicious problem of so many choices of wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages.

For example, Hello Vino and Wine Ring are mobile apps that use consumer elicited data to learn about preferences and recommend the best wine. For those who prefer AI chatbots, Casey engages users in a conversation to choose a wine for a specific need. Similarly, Diageo has created an AI mobile app to help whisky lovers with their choice. Retailers could implement these types of AI services to help in-store shoppers make more personalized selections.

For shoppers who want to become more knowledgeable about the beverage industry, Vivino and Next Glass let customers scan labels on beverages to access consumer ratings and beverage information. Winerytale has helped more than 500 wineries use AI and augmented reality (AR) to bring branded content to life with winery videos, tasting notes, and food pairing suggestions. Consumers simply scan the label with a smartphone app and enjoy the AR experience. These innovations would be welcome and expected in-store experiences for the 40% of people who feel that AI can provide prompt answers to questions.

Of course, no discussion of how consumers benefit from introducing AI into the alcoholic beverage industry would be complete without mentioning self-driving vehicles. About 51% of people say they would be comfortable with AI arranging their travel plans and 43% say they would be comfortable driving in a vehicle without human involvement. As alcohol providers become more liable for the safety of their consumers, self-driving vehicles are an excellent solution for ensuring consumers can enjoy alcohol whether at a friend’s home or a restaurant. AI will bring peace of mind and increased safety to the experience.

Creating Better Tasting Beverages 

About 63% of people believe that AI can improve the productivity and profitability of Canadian companies, and 48% believe that AI can liberate people from boring work. In fact, 42% of Canadians believe that businesses should invest in using AI technologies.

Productivity is one of the most appealing advantages of AI for producers who are using it to create flavours that are more appealing and desirable to shoppers. Champion Brewing gathered extensive transactional data from the best and worst-selling IPAs and quickly analyzed their flavour components to determine a new ‘best’ recipe. Carlsberg’s Beer Fingerprinting Project creates and analyzes 1,000 beer samples every single day, an impossible feat prior to the introduction of AI, to determine flavor fingerprints and develop new brews. IntelligentX analyzes unlimited customer feedback via a Facebook chatbot to fine-tune its recipes. AI is an amazing tool for ensuring that the volume of data to be collected and analyzed isn’t a bottleneck to innovation.

Not only can AI help develop new flavours and recipes of alcoholic beverages, it can also improve operational efficiencies within the brewing process. In Australia, Ailytic has built AI to help its clients properly evaluate and adjust for all the variables that go into producing wine. Among other clients, Pernod Ricard, Accolade Wines and Treasury Wine Estates, all benefit from savings of time and money. GAIA uses DigitalGlobe’s satellite image library to plot vineyards in Australia and gather more accurate and timely information about crop condition, plant health, soil moisture, and even fruit quality. All on the fast and efficient path to better tasting wine.

Next Steps

As a tool within the alcohol beverage industry, AI may not be first to come to mind. But its ability to improve the shopping experience by creating a more engaging and personalized in-store experience is intriguing. And, its ability to improve operational efficiencies is undeniable. Innovative producers and marketers are disrupting both the shopper and developer sides of the equation to create better beverages more quickly and with better results.

Which begs the question – are you a disruptive leader or disruptee?

*The 2019 AI in Practice blog post series is based on Sklar Wilton & Associates 3rd annual AI tracker. In partnership with Canadian Viewpoint, 1008 adults in Canada, balanced to Statistics Canada demographics on age, gender, region, and French/English language, completed a 20-minute self-administered questionnaire in August 2019. As with all non-probability samples using access panels, margin of error cannot be calculated, and results are subject to both sampling and non-sampling error. Learn more from the 2018 AI tracker and the 2017 AI tracker.


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