How Technology is Paving the Way for Better Brew

Data science is changing the way breweries produce consistently good beer on a large scale and Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon is changing the game for craft-breweries everywhere.

Microsoft recently visited the brewery for the latest episode of “Work Reworked,” the company’s web series on the unexpected ways technology is changing how people do their jobs. Founded in 1988, Deschutes is one of the largest craft breweries in the United States, known for its diverse beer offerings, from robust Obsidian Stout to seasonal Jubelale.

Assistant brewmaster, Sean Garvin sees the shift from manual data collection to automated operational intelligence as the main ingredient in Deschutes’ recipe for business efficiency.

To maximize output and ensure quality, Deschutes uses a solution called PI System, which ingests real-time data on temperature, pressure, flow rate, fermentation and other information in the brewery. Developed by software company OSIsoft, the system delivers data to Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Suite for predictive analytics that saves time and increases fermentation capacity. The intelligent solution accommodates natural variations in hops and barley, needed adjustments for taste and aroma, and different brewing requirements for each beer.

“I think there can be a misconception that as automation increases, creativity and artistry decrease,” Garvin says. “It’s not that we’re trying to remove the human element. We always need the human element for creating a brand-new recipe. The artistry and technology work hand in hand to create better beer.”

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