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Craft brewery sells out of beer made from treated sewage

Fox City Brewing Company, based in Forsyth in Georgia, has sold out of one of its beer that was made from treated sewage water.

Image c/o Guillaume Clairet via LinkedIn

The beer, named Revival Lager was, according to the brewer, an “eco-friendly lager made from highly repurposed and recycled water”.

In a recent report via Bloomberg, Fox City brewer Chris Bump admitted that the beer had been something of a conversation starter and said: “We flower up the verbiage a little bit, to make sure people try it.”

According to Bump, the idea came to him via the Canadian water technology company H20 Innovation which operates a sewage treatment plant in Forsyth and wanted a beer to serve at its annual symposium of the WaterReuse Association.

H2O Innovation chief operating officer Guillaume Clairet said: “If you give somebody a glass of water and tell them that it’s been purified from wastewater, more than likely one person out of two will not drink it. But if you convert that same water to beer, then all of a sudden nine out of 10 will.”

The water Bump used to make Revival came from the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District which recently opened a facility to showcase “potable reuse” a term used to describe reintroducing treated wastewater into drinking-water supplies.

Three years ago, Las Virgenes began piping a small fraction of the plant’s outflow — about 1 million gallons a day — into the demo facility, where it is reportedly put through the additional steps of ultrafiltration (UF), reverse osmosis (RO) and an ultraviolet-advanced oxidation process (UV AOP) to be brought up to state’s standards for recycled drinking water.

Las Virgenes put six 55-gallon drums of the recycled water onto a truck to send to Fox City Brewing where Bump pumped it into his hot liquor tank. Initially, he admitted that he had wanted to brew a sour beer but was dissuaded by the H20 Innovation team who reminded him that he needed to showcase the water’s purity and pressed for him to instead create a lager.

Bump explained: “I really enjoy making sour beers. But the more I thought about it, that’s probably not the best thing. So I think they made a good call there.”

Fox City Brewing is not the first microbrewery to dabble with potable reuse. However, many proposals for “toilet-to-tap” systems have stirred up resistance and backlash from consumers.

In response, advocates are says to be increasingly turning to breweries as a go-to strategy for assisting in helping people to understand the potential.

Fox City’s Revival Lager was priced at US$4 per pint and had become popular for being the brewery’s cheapest beer on the menu, in part because the water was free.

Bump added: “Everybody seemed pretty willing to accept it and try it. You can’t beat four bucks.”

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