Swedish Experts Use Recycled Sewage Water To Brew Beer
Pints of beer sit on the bar (Photographer: Michaela Handrek-Rehle/Bloomberg)

Swedish Experts Use Recycled Sewage Water To Brew Beer

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Having reservations about drinking recycled sewage water? Have a beer!

Swedish experts have used recycled sewage water, passed it through delicate membranes and cleaning processes including reverse osmosis and turned it into the country's first hot-selling beer.

The experts at the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute , famous beer-maker Carlsberg and New Carnegie Brewery here joined hands to use the water from the city to brew beer and to overcome the mental block regarding drinking of recycled water.

The popularity of the recycled water beer PU:REST, which was launched in May this year, has soared with 6,000 litres of it being sold in the market so far, IVL expert Rupal Deshmukh said.

She said the recycled water is so clean that they had to add salt to it.

It is all about acceptance of that water which is more of a psychological issue, Deshmukh said, adding that the institute is not in the business of selling alcohol and the project is to prove a point of recycling waste water to potable levels.

The IVL has set up a pilot and demonstration facility in Hammarby Sjostadsverk to recycle sewage water by passing it through delicate membranes and cleaning processes and turning it into cleanest possible water, said project manager at IVL Staffan Filipsson.

"Resistance to drinking reused waste water is quite high. We were working on how to overcome this resistance. Technically drinking reused water is not a problem at all but the bigger issue is overcoming mental blocks," Filipsson said.

He said the idea had cropped during one of the discussions one-and-a-half years ago,

The team contacted executives at New Carnegie Brewery who reverted within a week showing interest, he said.

"Carlsberg people who are partners in the brewery said this was a great idea and they were interested in being part of it. We had approval from authorities to brew beer from the waste water," Filipsson said.

The process involves cleaning it in an energy-efficient manner using specially made membranes followed by a reverse osmosis and filtration mechanism.

The IVL experts carried out detailed lab testing of the recycled water after which it was delivered to New Carnegie Brewery where professionals took over the remaining process.

Nearly four weeks later, they came up with PU:REST, first Swedish beer from recycled water, Filipsson said.

"They had to stop selling in some time as they got out of beer. It was introduced again two weeks later and sold out again from stores," he said.

"Innovation is the need of the future. It is also about how you reach out to the public. This is a way to push innovation forward and have an open mindset," Filipsson said.

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