“This project never could have been so successful without the extraordinary cooperation and relationship with Pluto7 and Google. From day one, it felt like we were one team, and that camaraderie grew, from the initial model in the Makeathon, to the 60 percent improvements we saw per run in barrelage.”
-Adam Spunberg, Global Director, AbInBev
What goes into refining the taste of beer? Malt, hops, rice, yeast, water — and machine learning (ML).
Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) makes some of the world’s oldest and most popular beer brands — including Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois. But the global corporation is all about embracing the future and innovating to stay competitive. That’s how AB InBev came to partner with Pluto7, a technology solutions provider that uses Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services to improve operations at manufacturers and other companies.
Pluto7 developed a prototype solution that is enabling AB InBev to optimize the beer filtration process with much greater accuracy — reducing costs, increasing efficiencies, and perhaps most importantly for beer aficionados, ensuring taste. The Pluto7 solution combines TensorFlow, Cloud Machine Learning Engine, Cloud SQL, and BigQuery.
A top priority at AB InBev is optimizing the K Filter that kicks in at the end of beer brewing, right before packaging. The filtration process removes any remaining yeast, proteins, or other elements to achieve the best, crispest beer taste and meet brand-required turbidity levels.
Beer filtration is a complicated process with many unpredictable variables, such as the fluid’s turbidity coming into and going out of the filter as well as regulating pressure in and across the filter. The technology long in place to manipulate the variables is capable of only basic logic, using meters to monitor and react to adverse conditions, such as a change in pressure. Adding ML and artificial intelligence (AI), the company can leverage a much larger dataset to better predict and prevent potential issues during filtration. Consequently, an ML-enabled filtration process could deliver great-tasting beer with significant cost efficiencies. Recognizing this potential set AB InBev on a search for the best partnership and provider that would enable the company to deploy ML quickly and effectively.
“The value of working and the partnership with Pluto7 is that they’re scalable with the Google Cloud Platform — so the learnings we get from Newark, we can scale across breweries in 126 countries. The artificial intelligence of Pluto7 and Google Cloud Platform is a part of this broader vision to transform how we make beer, and deliver it faster at more consistently higher quality to our valued customer.”
—Benjamin Lavoie, Global Director of Technology, AB InBev