News Feature | March 18, 2016

Reused Water Gets Into California Beers

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

Some Californians are doing their part to conserve water during the drought by drinking beer — specifically, beer made with recycled water.

New York magazine explained: “A brewery in San Francisco has started brewing beers with recycled gray water — water that's been used in sinks and showers, then treated. An architect aptly named Russ Drinker apparently got obsessed with making the idea a reality in 2014.”

Drinker approached Half Moon Bay Brewing Company about the idea last year.

“Pretty soon after meeting, a gray water Mavericks Tunnel Vision IPA was born. It relies on NASA's water-recycling system, the same technology astronaut Scott Kelly used to make coffee from his sweat and pee while on the International Space Station,” the report said.

Drinker argues that there has been an overemphasis on conservation in California.

“If Californians really want to have an impact on our water use, we have to recycle our freshwater... and get over our psychological resistance to that,” he said, per The Guardian.

A tasting panel could not detect the difference between a version of this beer made with recycled water and the normal version of the beer, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“This is the product [where] people think that water is the most important ingredient,” Mendonca said, per The Guardian. “So if I can demonstrate to people that not only is [graywater beer] good, but it’s great, then why wouldn’t you use that water for everything else?”

This beer is not commercially available yet.

“Mendonca wants to focus on using it to catch the attention of policymakers and the public. Currently, it is illegal to directly pump treated recycled water back into the drinking water supply in California,” Sustainable Brands reported.

Recycled water enjoys a high level of acceptance in California. An online survey conducted this year by Edelman Intelligence, commissioned by Xylem Inc., found the following, per Sustainable Brands:

87 percent of respondents are either “somewhat” (38 percent) or “very” (49 percent) supportive of using recycled water as an additional local water supply, and 83 percent are either “somewhat” (41 percent) or “very” (42 percent) willing to use recycled water in their everyday lives.

89 percent of respondents were more willing to use recycled water after reading an “educational statement” explaining the treatment processes that the wastewater undergoes to become safe, drinkable recycled water. Further, 88 percent agreed that seeing a demonstration of the water purification process would make them more comfortable using and drinking recycled water.

For similar stories, visit Water Online’s Water Reuse Solutions Center.