Circumstance Distillery unveils ‘world’s first’ AI gin

7th November, 2019 by Nicola Carruthers

UK-based Circumstance Distillery has created what is thought to be the world’s first gin using artificial intelligence (AI), called Monker’s Garkel.

Monker’s Garkel gin is made using artificial intelligence

Bristol-based Circumstance Distillery teamed up with technology scientists Tiny Giant and Rewrite Digital to build the AI. The AI is called Ginette, a neural network and the ‘brains’ behind the new gin.

Ginette was trained by the team to analyse thousands of botanicals, understand gin recipes and learn a database of more than 500 gin names. The AI then settled on Monker’s Garkel, described as a “fragranced” gin by Ginette.

Bottled at 40% ABV, Monker’s Garkel is made with juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root, raspberry leaf, gooseberry, prune, clementine zest, orange zest, and marigold.

The label for the new expression is made using an automated algorithm, which used a set of styles, colours, textures and fonts. The label was then prepared by local artist Tim Sutcliffe. According to the distillery, the algorithm could “potentially design an infinite selection”.

Liam Hirt, co-founder of Circumstance Distillery, said: “AI and machine learning are exciting new tools. We do a lot of contract distilling and wanted to know if these tools could make a meaningful contribution to new product development.

“At present they are not a substitute for the skill of the distiller, but we have clearly shown that they can make a valuable contribution to all aspects of the development process, from the recipe to the naming and labelling.

“We trained Ginette well, and with a little human help and guidance, her product is interesting, attractive and, most importantly, delicious.”

Kerry Harrison, co-founder of Tiny Giant, added: “The creation of Monker’s Garkel has demonstrated that it’s perfectly possible to align machine predictive power and human creativity to make something delicious, valuable and commercial.”

The first batch will be limited to 1,000 bottles and available from Master of Malt. The online retailer also provided some of the data for the AI. Monker’s Garkel will also be available to buy from Circumstance Distillery’s online store for £42 (US$45).

Last month, Circumstance Distillery extended its portfolio with the launch of two wheat and rye grain spirits.

Circumstance Distillery is not the only spirits producer to use AI. In May this year, Swedish distillery Mackmyra teamed up with tech giant Microsoft and Finnish consultancy Fourkind to create the “world’s first” whisky using AI.

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