Beer made from recycled TOILET WATER takes off in Singapore ‘I couldn’t tell!’
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The country’s water agency PUB teamed up with craft brewery Brewerkz to produce the drink which has hit supermarket shelves. Punter Chew Wei Lian, 58, told Bloomberg: “I seriously couldn’t tell this was made of toilet water.”
He added: “I don’t mind having it if it was in the fridge. I mean, it tastes just like beer, and I like beer.”
Named NEWBrew, the alcoholic beverage uses NEWater, which is the name given to Singapore’s brand of drinking water recycled from sewage.
It first flowed from treatment plants in 2003 to improve the island’s water security.
PUB says the beer is part of a drive to educate Singaporeans about the importance of using water sustainably and recycling.
A brewery has made beer from sewage water in Singapore
A high angle view of buildings at the waterfront, Singapore City
The idea of processing sewage into drinking water has been gaining support in the last 10 years as the world’s supply of fresh water comes increasingly under stress.
According to a World Wildlife Fund estimate, 2.7 billion people struggle to access water for at least one month a year.
NEWater is made from sewage which has been disinfected with ultraviolet light.
The liquid then passes through membranes to remove contaminants.
Students toast with glasses of beer in a pub during a school trip to Strasbourg
People seen drinking beer at a bar in Soho, London
Key to rolling out the technology is persuading people that it is water after the liquid has been processed.
Mitch Gribov, Brewerkz’s head brewer, said: “NEWater perfectly suits brewing because it tastes neutral.
“The mineral profile of water plays a key role in chemical reactions during brewing.”
Other breweries around the world have also made beer with recycled sewage.
Nya Carnegie Brewery in Stockholm partnered with brewing giant Carlsberg and IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute to launch a pilsner made with purified sewage.
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A workman walks away with a free beer that he poured from a billboard poster with a built in tap
Village Brewery in Canada got together with researchers from the University of Calgary and Xylem – a US water technology company -to get their own version on the market.
However, not everyone is convinced by Singapore’s effort.
Student Low Yu Chen, 22, said: “There are many kinds of beers around. If I wanted a beer, I’d pick something made of normal water.”
Others who have tasted NEWBrew say they find it a refreshing, light-tasting ale which is perfect for Singapore’s tropical climate.
Grace Chen, 52, said after trying the beer: “If you don’t tell people it’s made from wastewater, they probably won’t know.”
A waiter serves beers at a bar in Brussels
The brewery expects supermarket stocks to run out by the end of July.
It said it will assess how popular the drink is before deciding whether to make another batch.
NEWBrew is not the only eco-innovation in the industry with beer giant Carlsberg set to carry out its biggest trial in a bid to launch its fibre beer bottle across Europe.
Eight thousand of the group’s new bottles – all completely recyclable – will be sampled by customers in eight markets across the continent including the UK, Poland and France.
The bottle has been made with a wood-based fibre shell and contains a lining made of a plant-based Polyethylene Furanoate (PEF) polymer.
Carlsberg said the materials can all be recycled and it will retain the beer’s “taste and fizziness” against the same product in glass bottles.
Stephane Munch, vice president for group development at Carlsberg, described the product as a “great achievement” and said the company will continue to work with partners Avantium, who specialise in renewable chemistry and developed the polymer lining, and packaging company Paboco – who produced the outer shell of the bottle – to create developments in beer packaging.
He said: “Identifying and producing PEF, as a competent functional barrier for beer, has been one of our greatest challenges – so getting good test results, collaborating with suppliers and seeing the bottles being filled on the line is a great achievement.”
He added that the bottle is “100 percent bio-based apart from the cap, which is currently needed to ensure the quality of the product”.
There are plans, however, for an updated Fibre Bottle 3.0.
The pilot will also see the beer giant turn its sustainability efforts to its beer, which will use barley malt cultivated using fully organic and regenerative agricultural practices in partnership with barley malt supplier Soufflet.