The Sustainable Singapore Beer That Might Be Too Hard To Swallow

Craft brewers can often be a planet-conscious bunch, constantly searching for new ways to implement eco-friendly, environmentally-sustainable practices (per Forbes). Beer drinkers might recall when some companies started offering biodegradable replacements for standard plastic six-pack rings, which pollute the oceans and entangle and kill sea turtles, birds, fish, and other wildlife (per National Geographic).

In 2016, Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Florida, introduced an edible version of biodegradable six-pack rings made of barley and wheat ribbons left over from the brewing process that is safe for marine life to nibble off and eat if so desired (via Time). Sustainability and how to most cost-effectively achieve it in order to reduce one's carbon footprint has become a hot topic in the brewing community according to Forbes. Issues such as water usage and where you source your hops and other raw materials all impact the environment.

One company called Sustainable Beverage Technologies has even introduced an idea for beer concentrate to mitigate shipping's impact on the environment, while another, Omega Yeast has developed genetically modified yeast that replicates the flavor of hops without using them (per FSR). Meanwhile, a brewery in Singapore is taking a sustainable approach to beer that some might find too hard to swallow.

From sewage to stein

Singaporean craft brewery Brewerkz is testing out a bold concept called NEWBrew, a blonde ale beer made from recycled sewage and urine water called NEWater (per Bloomberg News). While that initial description may give even the most adventurous of beer aficionados pause, keep in mind that the beverage undergoes a very thorough sanitation process that transforms the liquid waste into a sippable tipple.

The water is treated through microfiltration which removes bacteria particles. Next, reverse osmosis filters out viruses, then the final step to ensure the beer is clean and safe to drink involves the use of ultraviolet disinfection. While breweries often collaborate with each other on special beers, this particular sustainable selection required the public-private partnership of Singapore's national water agency PUB and Brewerkz, (via The Guardian).

Sustainability is crucial for conserving precious natural resources such as water, especially in a metropolis like Singapore where fresh sources are scarce (per theĀ New York Post). One major goal of the NEWBrew/PUB partnership is to bring attention to the global water crisis and climate change's exacerbation of the problem and educate the public on sustainable water use (via Daily Maverick).

But how does the converted sewage water taste? If current demand is any indication, much akin to any other light, drinkable beer. It's selling out of supermarkets and getting tapped out at Brewerkz, though only time will tell if NEWBrew remains popular or if it's just the novelty factor.