A Saskatoon Brewery went head-to-head with Chat GPT in a competition to see who could make the best beer.
The idea for this fun competition came as a result of a staff meeting at 9 Mile Legacy Brewing Company, a microbrewery based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, known for their craft beer and pushing boundaries.
After playing around with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a program recognized for being able to write songs, poetry and scripts, Garrett Pederson, 9 Mile’s co-founder and head brewer thought it would be interesting to put it to the test to see if the program could come up with a beer recipe.
According to the Financial Post, only 35% of organizations in Canada are using AI, compared to 72% of businesses in the United States. Despite Canadian businesses lagging far behind the US in terms of adopting AI, 9 Mile Legacy Brewing is one of the few who has realized the potential of ‘tapping into’ (pardon the pun) the marketing hype behind the hugely popular ChatGPT program.
The Brewery created two teams – HUMANS, headed by Pederson & ROBOTS, with Assitant Brewer Luke Clark tasked with brewing a beer using a recipe he used ChatGPT to create. It was decided that they would both create a fruited gose. A gose is German beer brewed with salt and seasoned with coriander, part of the process of which includes lacto-fermentation, giving the beer a distinct sour flavor.
The endgame was to put the two beers head-to-head in a public taste challenge.
Pederson, creating the team HUMAN beer, came up with a recipe for a rhubarb ginger sour. He used the traditional researching methods of old brew records and recipes, talking with other brewers and looking things up online.
“It’s always long, with a lot of time and research put into it,” he said.
On the Robot team, Clark said he started the process by asking ChatGPT to “make an award-winning gose recipe using local ingredients.”
The chatbot started immediately creating recipes and naturally, considering they are in Saskatoon, the recipes all included local Saskatoon berries. But what Clark was not expecting was that the malt content of some of the ChatGPT recipes would have resulted in beer that was up to 30-40% alcohol.
Despite the ratio of ingredients being a little off, Clark had said he was surprised to see all of the ingredients needed to make a beer were actually there. But even with all of the right ingredients, the recipe he chose required several refreshes and a lot of tweaking and refining until he was able to get something he could actually use.
“I took the original recipe, took all of the ingredients and adjusted them just a little bit and changed the process to our process and then created a beer from that.”
With both brew teams having created their beers, it was time to see which one the people liked best in a blind taste test.
The brewing company held an in-house event complete with both a live DJ and a ChatGPT playlist. It was a packed house and when all was said and done, team ROBOTS beer came out on top securing 60% of the votes!
Despite ROBOTS taking the win, no one at 9 Mile Brewery is worried that machines are coming for their job anytime soon. In the comments, 9 Mile tweeted, “#ChatGPT absolutely didn’t replace human function or impact but rather added one more tool to the tool belt. Being human remains integral and this silly beer competition was a great medium to ponder that human/AI relationship.”
This is a perfect example of how an AI program like ChatGPT can be used as a tool to gather information quickly from around the internet to understand the basics of a process, like brewing beer, to make the research aspect as well as the generating of ideas for different recipes, a little faster and easier. It also illustrates how the ROBOTS beer would never have been something they could even ask people to taste, let alone sell, without the human intervention.
The two beers are now being sold, packaged together, at Co-op, Sobeys, Urban Cellars, and at the brewery’s taproom on 20th Street in Saskatoon.