Maybe dogs have been right all along. Following efforts by local municipalities to destigmatize the use of recycled sewage water for human consumption, Escondido, California-based Stone Brewing has recently introduced a craft beer made from recycled toilet water.
According to The Sacramento Bee, the brewery was motivated to experiment with wastewater after California’s long drought limited their conventional water supply sources. Using treated water from San Diego’s Pure Water Facility, the brewery produced five barrels of what it calls Full Circle Pale Ale, a “toilet to tap” beverage.
The recent public tasting, attended by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, was intended to highlight the city’s multi-billion-dollar pursuit of harvesting drinking water from sewage systems; the goal is to put recycled wastewater back into the water supply instead of dumping it into the ocean. The city estimates that by 2035, one-third of the area’s fresh water will be made up of recycled and treated H2O.
Citing the “yuck factor,” city officials believe efforts like Stone Brewing’s will help the public embrace the idea of the treated water being reused. Treatment facilities use micro-filtration tubes to filter out contaminants, with reverse-osmosis eliminating solids. A combination of ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide provides additional antimicrobial benefits.
But will the general public ever really be able to set aside the fact that their weekend is being lubricated by poop-nourished beer? City officials claim it’s going on anyway. “Las Vegas does treat and discharge their wastewater into Lake Mead, which is one of the areas where we pull our water,” Brent Eidson, deputy director of external affairs at San Diego’s Public Utilities Department, told CityLab. “Helping them realize this has been going on for a very long time helps them understand and accept this program.”
Steve Gonzalez, Stone Brewing’s senior manager of brewing and innovation, said that the ale’s taste has some “caramel notes” with “tropical fruit” hints. It’s expected to go on sale soon.