Beer Marketing Influenced by Artificial Intelligence (AI)
It seems like artificial intelligence is taking over the world, and the beer industry is no exception. Join us as we explore how AI might influence craft beer, marketing and the future of the brewing industry!
By Emma Zhao on Sep. 07, 2022
Artificial intelligence or “AI” is a form of machine learning technology that has rapidly increased in popularity over the last few years. With the emergence of image generating software like MidJourney, DALL•E, and NightCafe, it really opens up the realm of possibilities for business owners, creatives, and maybe even brewers. This new technology creates a new space for people to experiment in fields such as art, film-making, journalism and marketing, exploring outcomes rapidly without significant investment in time or money.
The beer industry is no exception. Artists, advertisers, and brewers collaborate to create innovative and aesthetic beers to market and sell. In fact, effectively marketing a beer and brand is incredibly important in order to stand out in such a competitive industry.
Let’s explore the ins and outs of beer marketing, and how the AI shift might influence the beer industry!
There are only a select few beers in North America that are part of a beer corporate giant (for example: Budlight, Corona, Budweiser, Heineken, etc). These brands are already established, and have lots of funding and support backing them. Many of these brands use star power provided by celebrities, who can advertise their beers to a wide range of international audiences.
This makes marketing for the craft beer industry quite difficult. In recent decades, craft beer has made a comeback for their unique flavors, lines, and innovations. It is often because of these unique ingredients and flavors which attract people from the beer community.
Why is beer marketing important?
Like any company, beer marketing is essential in driving revenue and fostering relationships with consumers. The better marketing a microbrewery can deliver, the longer the microbrewery can stay open.
Large brands, such as Budweiser and Molson, already have a huge platform, built over decades and even centuries. In fact, during the majority of the 1900s, Canada’s beer industry was dominated by only three national beer chains. So while the craft brewing industry is on the rise, these three older and significantly larger corporations poses a difficult competition.
This is why microbreweries typically focus more on trying to understand their customers in their marketing plans. Among this, beer marketing for the craft beer industry has to match their artistic creativities. People who are loyal craft brewery customers typically value high quality and creative beers that they wouldn’t otherwise find anywhere else. This is why being authentic, creative, and interpersonal, are incredibly important aspects to building brand loyalty for microbreweries.
What is AI?
In short, artificial intelligence is a technology that can perform certain tasks using simulated human intelligence. This means that AI can apply simple tasks such as language processing, systems, vision, and more to perform these tasks.
AI has become increasingly popular over the recent years, and is starting to be implemented into different fields. However, the concept of AI may have been started in the 1300s, a far cry from today’s technological capabilities. Catalan poet and theologian Ramon Llull published a book called the Ars generalis ultima (The Ultimate General Art). It detailed his strategy of creating a mechanical way to intelligence by combining different concepts on paper.
From then on, mathematicians, writers, philosophers, and psychologists fanned the concept of AI. For example, Jonathan Swift published a book called Gulliver’s Travels in 1726, which explored the use of a machine called the Engine, “a Project for improving speculative Knowledge by practical and mechanical Operations.”
Interesting inventions in a similar vein have been created. In 1914, a Spanish inventor created a chess-playing machine, capable of playing simple chess without human control.
The term, “artificial intelligence” was only coined in 1955. 10 scholars from various universities took a two month workshop on artificial intelligence, which marked the birth of AI as a field.
From then on, as technology progressed, AI became multifaceted and important. From self-driving cars, to machine learning, artificial intelligence is changing every field that we know of.
Artificial Intelligence and Marketing
AI in marketing is becoming incredibly popular, and many modern marketing strategies have been influenced by the use of AI. In fact, a strategy simply known as ‘AI marketing’ is defined as “a method of leveraging technology to improve the customer journey,” according to Forbes. This strategy can complete basic assessments of marketing points by using data analytics, machine learning, and other processes. However, AI can complete more difficult, and often human-run aspects of marketing.
AI imaging has become increasingly popular recently. This is where art can be created through AI by curating a set of words and/or images into a generator. Of course, this can come with its caveats. AI imaging generators have been used to create deep-fakes (videos generated through AI) which have been questioned for its ethics. On the other end, it’s also created a useful tool for companies to create their own marketing strategy on a budget.
AI and Beer Marketing
In 2022, the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) partnered with Blindman Brewing to create their own AI marketed beer. Their beer, the May Long Double IPA, features an AI generated label. They used a technique called “neural style transfer,” where you can superimpose a neural piece of art onto an image to created new style on the image.
While this is the first time the brewery used AI to generate a beer label, they had worked with Amii previously, using AI technology to make better environmental decisions when creating beers. Many studies have shown that the majority of consumers, especially younger ones, truly value morality. Therefore, if a brewery is making an effort to be environmentally conscious using new technology, consumers might be more attracted to their products.
In September of 2021, a Toronto brewery, the Kensington Brewing Company, released its first ever AI generated beer in the city. The design of the beer came with a sleeve, which the creators used to reinforce their brand to appear creative, playful, and collectible.
Not only was the beer, named “A Little Robotic,” marketed using AI, the recipe was actually also made with AI technology. The brewery worked with a machine learning company, Dessa, over months to create a specific beer, which they produced using curated words, beer recipes, data, etc.
They took much of the craft beer marketing tips to use, noticing consumer behavioral trends, and using AI to help the brewery meet them. For example, the creators noticed that a lot of Kensington’s loyal customers were most invested in new and innovative drinks. They accepted that meeting those expectations were challenging, thus leaving room for AI technology to help them create those innovative expectations.
These processes still take massive amounts of time and energy. While the technology itself does most of the “creating,” it’s still up to humans to curate the information that should be fed through the machine. This takes lots of time, data, research, human tasters, etc.
Ultimately, it’s not a far-fetch prediction that AI might become the future of beer marketing, and even beer making. In fact, it’s quite likely. While these strategies are still relatively new and are still in need of more developments, technology is changing at a rapid pace today, and you might be drinking AI generated beers sooner than you think!
For more information on AI and beer, or more interesting things about beer, check out these articles:
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