Thirsty for Change: Brewing Beer with Recycled Water

Last updated: November 19, 2023

In a bid to quench the thirst of a drought-stricken West, Aaron Tartakovsky, the head honcho of Epic Cleantec, is brewing beer with an unexpected ingredient: recycled wastewater.

Beer cans in a refrigerator
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This golden, fruity brew is more than just a refreshing pint; it’s a symbol of the untapped potential of unconventional water sources in an era of climate change.

Epic Cleantec is turning the tide on water waste by treating wastewater from a San Francisco skyscraper’s showers, sinks, and washing machines.

The treated water, once murky and gray, is transformed into a crystal-clear liquid that meets or exceeds federal drinking quality standards.

To prove the point, Tartakovsky has partnered with a brewery business to create Epic OneWater Brew, a German Kolsch-inspired beer.

Chris Garrett, the big cheese at Devil’s Canyon Brewery, was pleasantly surprised by the results. “There literally is no difference, not discernible by anyone, including people that I know that are beer snobs,” he said.

Despite the success, California law currently prevents the commercial sale of the beer. However, Tartakovsky and Garrett are hopeful for change, distributing cans free of charge at major events like the recent Climate Week in New York.

The concept of recycling wastewater isn’t new. In places like Scottsdale, Arizona, treated wastewater has been used for watering golf courses and crops for years.

But with water sources drying up due to chronic drought, authorities are exploring ways to recycle wastewater for direct reuse.

Opponents have dubbed the process “toilet-to-tap,” but a recent Stanford University study found that recycled water may be cleaner than much of the water we drink daily.

Bill Mitch, the co-author of the research, hopes that initiatives like Epic Cleantec’s can help to change attitudes.

In the end, Tartakovsky’s wastewater beer is more than just a novelty. It’s a wake-up call, a rallying cry for a future where every drop counts.

As Tartakovsky puts it, “I think what our beer project has shown people is that the public is a lot more ready for recycled water than we give them credit for.”

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