Want to make a statement in Germany? Say it with beer. Earlier this summer, when locals in the eastern German town of Ostritz wanted to protest a neo-Nazi festival, they did so buying up more than 100 crates of beer in the area to make sure the facists stayed thirsty. On the other side of the political spectrum, when a xenophobic far-right Bavarian brewer released beer arguing for closed borders during the height of the refugee crisis, he was forced to recall it almost immediately after public outcry.
So when Xylem, a water technology company, wanted to raise awareness about the decidedly unsexy topic of wastewater management, they knew what to do. Reuse Beer is a mildly malty brown ale brewed in the classic German Altbier style. It’s completely ordinary except for one crucial detail: it’s brewed with purified water retrieved from Berlin’s expansive sewage system. On September 6, Xylem will reveal the results of its unusual brew at IFA 2019, Europe’s largest consumer tech trade show.
With the Berlin Reuse Brew, we want to demonstrate that the technical possibilities of turning wastewater into drinking water are almost limitless.”
“With the Berlin Reuse Brew, we want to demonstrate that the technical possibilities of turning wastewater into drinking water are almost limitless,” said Ulf Miehe, of the Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin (Berlin Centre of Competence for Water) said in a press statement.
Believe it or not, Reuse Beer is more sanitary than it sounds. Thanks to the company’s MiPRO process, which obliterates bacteria through a combination of hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet light, it’s completely sanitary. And according to journalist Andrew Gebhart, it’s also actually pretty delicious.
Sadly, you may be out of luck if you’re itching to try a pint of what originated as toilet water. Reuse Beer was a one-off experiment to call attention to the important issue of drinking water shortages, much like the beer Xylem brewed using purified rainwater collected from the roof of the Manchester City Football Club’s stadium. Nevertheless, the fact that the experiment was so effective means we may be able to look forward to bottles of similar beers hitting the shelves in our coming dystopian future.