‘It tastes like a nice, crisp, Kölsch style ale. You'd have no idea the source of the water’
The thought of drinking wastewater is pretty unsavoury, right?
But that’s exactly what one American brewery is encouraging people to do - and for sound environmental reasons.
With the help of a clean tech start-up, Devil’s Canyon brewery has created a beer made using water from the showers, laundry and bathroom sinks of a San Francisco apartment block.
Would you be willing to take a sip? Here’s why you should consider it.
Is recycled water safe to drink?
The wastewater that goes down your drain, from everywhere except your toilet, is called grey water. It contains a variety of dirt and chemicals but hasn’t come into contact with faeces.
It might not sound appealing, but grey water can be processed back into drinking water. This would not only reduce household bills, but help to address global water shortages and droughts caused by climate change.
"There is a yuck factor associated with the thought of recycled water. I think a lot of people think that recycled water is of lesser quality than tap water," says Aaron Tartakovsky, CEO of Epic Cleantec.
Aaron’s company builds and installs on-site water processing units which have been proven to reduce water demands (and therefore bills) by up to 95 per cent.
He approached Devil’s Canyon brewery, based just outside of San Francisco, to work with him on the wastewater beer project.
"When Aaron reached out to us at first we were a little set aside and we were like ‘well what are people going to think?’,” explains Chris Garrett, owner of the brewery.
“And then the more we thought about it, it made a whole lot of sense. We have to make a change today. We're running out of water and we need to find a way to incorporate that into every day and things like beer."
Why is brewing beer from wastewater a good idea?
It takes around seven gallons of water to produce just one gallon of beer. In a future where water is scarce, beer could be too.
For the ‘Epic OneWater Brew’ project Epic Cleantec and Devil’s Canyon brewery installed a water treatment unit in the basement of a 40 storey San Francisco apartment building.
"We're actually collecting in this building about 7,500 gallons per day of grey water that we are treating, putting through an advanced treatment process and then turning into clean treated water,” Aaron explains.
The idea behind the project was to raise public awareness of the "untapped" potential of water sources that might seem unsavoury at first glance.
"When I first entered the industry, a lot of people said that the public is just not ready for recycled water, that public perception is too difficult for people to overcome,” says Aaron.
“And I think what our beer project has shown people is that the public is a lot more ready for recycled water than we give them credit for."
You might not be sold on the idea just yet but it’s something we’ll probably have to get used to in the future.
And if you’re wondering how the beer tastes. Here’s Aaron’s review: "It tastes like a nice, crisp, Kölsch style ale. You'd have no idea the source of the water. It's just nice, pristine drinking water and it's a fantastic beer and I'm gonna drink another sip."
Watch the video above to learn more.