Lonely Planet Writer

‘Sewage beer’ is here and you can try some in Sweden

Whether it’s for travel or food, sustainability is on everyone’s mind right now and it’s not surprising breweries are looking for ways to do their part. One way companies are looking to save the environment is using ‘recycled water’ in their products…or sewage, as it’s otherwise known.

The beer is environmentally friendly…but will consumers buy it? Photo by Volanthevist

The latest incarnation comes from Sweden and is a collaboration between Nya Carnegiebryggeriet brewery, Carlsberg and the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL). PU:REST is a 4.8% pilsner made with organic malt, hops and recycled waste water and launched on Friday, 25 May.

The IVL has been working for years to perfect the technology to recycle waste into safe drinking water and says the result is cost and energy efficient. It could be a solution to the world’s clean water shortage but, despite their success, they found the public’s negative perception about recycled water was a barrier to implementing it on a wider scale.

The issue, “is not technical but primarily emotional”, says Staffan Filipsson of IVL. “The recycled water is as pure and safe as normal tap water, but most people are still sceptical.” Their solution? Combine it with a much-loved product that is irresistible to many; beer.

The beer hopes to raise awareness about water shortages. Photo by Nya Carnegiebryggeriet

They approached the brewery to see if they would be interested in creating a new eco-friendly drink and they jumped at the chance. Brewmaster Chris Thurgeson said “we couldn’t resist the challenge. We share the view that both producers and consumers must dare to think differently if we are to successfully take care of Earth’s resources.”

They’re not the first brewery to give the new method a go. California’s Stone Brewing made headlines last year when they also successfully brewed a small batch of ale with wastewater for an event. However, this is was a once-off while PU:REST looks here to stay. The ‘sewage beer’ will be going on sale in Swedish liquor stores from 2 July and will be available at select restaurants and festivals before then.