Work Reworked: Technology for better beer, now on tap at Deschutes Brewery

By Brian Lemay 3 comments

>>I’m Chad Mack from Microsoft, and this is Work Reworked, the show that uncovers the often unexpected
ways technology is changing how people work. Today, we’re heading to Bend, Oregon, home of
craft beer innovator Deschutes Brewery, or
as I like to call it, “Willy Wonka for grown-ups.” Deschutes began in 1988 as a small brewpub and has since expanded to
a nationwide business, but that original spot
is still serving up good food along with
exclusive brews. Hero shot? Here we go, man. Cheers. Hey, can we get a toast? These folks are shaking
up the industry by using artificial intelligence
to maximize output while maintaining
consistent quality. Brewmaster Brian Faivre
oversees this whole process. He’s also the one that
brewed up the idea of mixing cloud computing with
the art of beer making. You have a really
interesting background. I mean, you’re the mastermind, if I can call you that, who took it from traditional
brewing down to new ways of working with
artificial intelligence and just thinking about
technology in your industry. When we talk about
our core values, we really always like
to talk about quality and doing things
better the next time. So we’re looking at the key performance indicators
of our fermentation. We’re looking at
hours for certain phases, diacetyl levels,
how much alcohol, how much sugar is
left to be fermented. We’re trying to be
as consistent as we can to ensure that level of quality that we
know our fans love. There’s no doubt the move
to machine learning in predictive analytics has
led to better output, but has it affected how
Deschutes’ employees work? Assistant Brewmaster Sean Garvin and QA Specialist Bri Francisco are part of the team turning
data points into tasty beer. How does your job change with the additional technology
in the cloud that’s come to Deschutes and
helps you do your work? When I first
started, things were basically just
recorded, written down. We had these binders, you would write down
what fermenter came from, where it went, and
how many barrels. The data just wasn’t
really being used. Now, we can have
one display that’s pulling from this database
and see what’s happening. So do you like
your jobs more now that you have these additional tools? I don’t like to sit and
number-crunch, so I like it. Oh, I do, too. It just saves us so much time
so now we can work on other things and
just do our job a lot better and more efficient. I think there can
be a misconception. As automation increases, creativity and
artistry decreases. It’s not that we’re trying
to remove the human element. We always need
the human element. We’re the ones creating, say, a brand new recipe. The artistry and the
technology in my mind, they work hand in hand
to create better beer. It’s a pretty cool recipe:
AI efficiency plus human artistry
equals damn tasty beer. Instead of just having
a gut feel of what’s going on, you really can start to see
these outer elements of, “Hey, maybe if we play
with this a bit, I wonder if we can extract
more flavor this way.” Using these models like this, we can be proactive, and then we can
consistently make that higher-quality product. I love it. Brilliant.
Now I get to drink this.


Aniket Kumakale

Nov 11, 2017, 4:59 pm Reply

First 10:29

Utku Erol

Nov 11, 2017, 5:56 pm Reply

Beer > technology

Alex C Machumi

Nov 11, 2017, 6:36 pm Reply

Commendably impressive.

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