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One of the World’s Biggest Booze Companies Wants to Use AI to Recommend Your Next Whisky

Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the algorithm.

whiskey lab Charl Folscher/Unsplash

You know how your Instagram feed starts sending you ads for khakis the minute you think about how you need a new pair of pants? Well, spirits giant Diageo is further immersing itself in the world of tech that knows what you want before you know what you want with the acquisition of flavor matching company Vivanda.

While not quite as nefarious sounding as the real life blocking or memory recall of a Black Mirror episode, this is indeed a look at what the future may hold for whisky consumers. Diageo has actually been using Vivanda’s technology since 2019 in several markets, including the “Journey of Flavour” experience at Johnnie Walker Princes Street in Edinburgh, as well as stores, ecommerce channels and the website Malts.com. It’s also the foundation of the “What’s Your Whisky” website, which works like this: Vivanda’s “FlavorPrint” system is powered by artificial intelligence, and by asking you a series of questions it’s able to map out your individual flavor preferences and suggest which whisky you should try based on your specific “Flavor Print.” Once you get your results, you are able to click to purchase a bottle of Talisker or Lagavulin or Oban, depending on your results.

Diageo plans to expand the use of Vivanda’s technology to other categories within its sizable portfolio, as well as using it to support “the continued development of our advanced analytics and digital marketing capabilities” to provide better understanding of just exactly what it is you like to drink, according to a press release. “We know consumers are looking for more personalized, interactive experiences and that they are increasingly engaging with our brands digitally as well as in person,” said Diageo chief marketing officer Cristina Diezhandino in a prepared statement. “We’re delighted to welcome Vivanda to Diageo and we are looking forward to working together to connect with consumers in more innovative ways that help shape the future of how we socialize in person and virtually.” So far the whisky has not become sentient and experienced its first sensation of love, but we are still in early days.

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