Case Study

Blindman Brewing: Sustainable AI-powered Craft Beer

Amii helped Alberta-based brewery capture and recycle carbon dioxide, reducing costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Overview

Blindman Brewing is based out of Lacombe, Alberta, and has been producing locally-crafted beer since 2014. As one of the winners of Food, Farming, and Forestry Challenge, Blindman Brewing was one of 17 projects awarded funding to help achieve the goal of reducing up to 2.7 million tonnes of CO2e in Alberta by 2030.

“We’ve been producing beer for six years now. We take malted barley and mix it with hot water, extracting the simple sugars out,” says Co-Founder Kirk Zembal. “Through the fermentation process, the yeast eat the simple sugars to produce ethanol and CO2. Through this project, we got the opportunity to work with Amii to help us capture CO2 to reuse it in our other processes.”

With Amii’s guidance, Blindman Brewing has been looking at implementing machine learning to help them make informed decisions around C02 production during fermentation.

“We'll be the first brewery in Canada to utilize AI techniques to capture the CO2 that's being produced.”

Kirk Zembal

Approach

Prior to their engagement with Amii, Blindman Brewing was at the Exploring stage of Amii’s AI Adoption Spectrum. At the end of their engagement, they entered the Initiating stage.

“Because we know a lot about beer and alcohol production, we didn’t know a lot about the nuance of CO2 production,” says Zembal. “That's why we got started on this machine learning journey.”

This resulted in Blindman Brewing’s participation in the Reducing Emissions through Machine Intelligence (REMI) program, which allowed them to learn more about the techniques and technologies that could be applicable to the problems they are solving.

Zembal and team participated in Amii’s ML Foundations, a six-hour course that builds knowledge about AI & ML using real-world examples and applications. Laying a foundation for teams as they are beginning to explore AI in their businesses is critical to ensuring that everyone involved shares a common language and understanding of the concepts.

Following the class, they met with the Amii team for the AI Planning and Initiating (AIPI) sessions, which examined Blindman Brewing’s current data and how it can be used to make predictions using AI. The sessions also help identify and prioritize AI use cases.

Results

“Last year, we spent over $60K to buy CO2; but now, we produce nearly all the C02 we'd ever need on site,” says Zembal. “Through that capture loop, there are significant financial savings as well as greenhouse gas reduction.”

Through the REMI program, the team also developed more knowledge of various AI applications and where the opportunities for implementation are in the different sections of their business.

“We learned that there are various solutions to different problems, but not all of them require machine learning. The program felt very holistic in that way; it focused on positive outcomes, not just trying to push machine learning down our throats,” says Zembal. “They teach you how to achieve your goals as a business.”

Through mentorship, Blindman Brewing:

  • gained foundational AI knowledge and created a roadmap for potential AI projects focused on GHG reduction;
  • scoped a machine learning (ML) emissions reduction project; and
  • learned to mitigate the risk of introducing AI and ML projects into various operations, processes and business lines

“From the REMI program we came out with a question that we didn't realize we needed answered until we really went through and learned about how and why machine learning can be applicable,” says Zembal.

Conclusion

With a better understanding of AI and its various techniques, Blindman Brewing will continue to look at the big picture of how to use AI in their business before trying to develop various systems.

“The core focus of craft beer breweries is constantly striving to create better beer. It's really core to what we're all about, especially at Blindman Brewing. We want those results to be available to other people so that they can make their own decision, or hopefully adopt this technology in their own breweries in the future. “

Read more about Blindman Brewing's ambitious project in this Globe and Mail article.


To discover how the REMI program can guide your company through AI adoption in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, see more information on our website.

Check out our Industry Solutions page for more information on how Amii can help your organization begin to understand and adopt AI.

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