Wastewater: The Future of the Beer Industry

It takes four liters of water to make just one liter of beer. Since water is such a big part of the brewing process (it’s 90 percent of beer) brewers and other environmental services are looking at innovative ways to save water. Why is water so important to the brew process? Simply put, without clean water you can’t make a great-tasting beer.

On this Earth Day, let’s take a look at a new sustainable effort in the beer industry: Using recycled sewage water. According to the World Water Council, within 30 years recycled sewage will be a source of drinking water in cities around the world.

What’s your initial thought when you think of recycled sewage water? For most, I’m assuming Jimmy Fallon’s “Ew!” sketch comes to mind.


Last year, Clean Water Services, a water resources management utility in Oregon, challenged home brewers in the Portland-based Oregon Brew Crew, to a sustainable water brewing competition where brewers made their beer using 30 percent purified wastewater. Apparently the beer tastes just like beer.

The next step is for the Oregon Brew Crew to make a beer made entirely from sewage treated water. Ultimately Clean Water Services’ goal is to help expand the use of recycled water in Oregon, and to encourage people to think about wastewater. Over a beer, of course.


It will be interesting to see if Oregon’s take on sustainable water will help encourage other beer, wine and liquor companies to tackle challenging environmental issues in inventive ways.

So what do you think? Would you give beer made with wastewater a try?

Related Posts: BEER-CATION: 45 Must-Visit Breweries (INFOGRAPHIC) Food Thoughts on Earth Day: Defining and Promoting Healthy, Sustainable Food Systems Fresh off the Tap – Three Craft Beer Trends to Watch Top 3 Reasons Craft Brewers Look East Bye, Bye Barley – 3 Reasons Gluten-Free Beer Is Here To Stay 8 Unique Ways to Go Green This Earth Day (and Beyond)