Beer entrepreneur, Ag Sciences alumnus, to speak

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — What's it like to be a young founder and CEO of a startup tech company in State College, tasting beer and coffee for your job and working in a former frat house? Find out when Jason Cohen, founder and CEO of Analytical Flavor Systems, tells his story.

A Harbaugh Forum presenter, Cohen will speak at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30, in 262 Willard Building as part of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program’s lineup of fall events. The series is sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Cohen, 24, is a Penn Stater who developed the startup company’s “Gastrograph” tool after 3½ years of research into sensory science and data mining.

“Our sensory system can flag and predict flaws, taints, contamination, and batch-to-batch deviations in real time from three-plus product reviews at any stage of production,” says Cohen.

When craft beer brewers and coffee roasters want to know why the flavor of their product is off and what to do about it, they tap Analytical Flavor Systems.

The company, operating since 2011, uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to build quality control and flavor profiling tools for the food and beverage industry. The company gathers and analyzes data to flag problems, then leverages data for flavor profile optimization, demographic targeting, and cognitive marketing.

Which means, in part, that tasting beer is part of the job for Cohen, his 10-person team, and product reviewers.

The company works with U.S. craft beer brewers and third-wave coffee roasters and is expanding its customer base to include tea, wine and chocolate producers. 

Cohen also founded The Tea Institute at Penn State and served as its executive director, overseeing more than 20 researchers in five fields of study in traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean tea. Cohen is a professional coffee, tea and beer taster who enjoys rock climbing, ice climbing and fencing.

Three things you may want to ask Cohen, based on his background and this blog post on the website for NVIDIA, a visual computing company, include: 

How does one become a professional tea taster quite early in life?

Can you explain how technological innovation is leading to a better pint of beer?

Is there any advantage to locating your company offices in a former frat house? 

Attend the Sept. 30 session and hear Cohen's  answers to these questions and more. All are welcome to hear this free presentation.

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Last Updated September 29, 2015