Yes, toilet water beer is a thing, and it's not as gross as you might think.
At first thought, the idea of toilet water beer conjures up some rather ... unpleasant images. But, we're here to tell you that the reality is actually a lot better than it sounds.
Brewing beer uses a lot of water—in fact, it's estimated by Modern Farmer that about seven gallons of water are used to make one gallon of beer. With water availability and demand becoming a concern around the world, some craft breweries are trying to be more sustainable and have been experimenting with using treated wastewater to brew their beer.
Making beer from treated wastewater, or toilet water, does not mean simply scooping up that H2O from the toilet bowl.
The water used by brewers is highly treated and put through several extra steps to make sure it's safe for human consumption. The water is put through a carbon filtering system, as well as ultrafiltration, oxidation, and reverse osmosis, and then finally tested to make sure it's clean and pathogen-free.
Fun fact: the water that comes out of wastewater treatment facilities is often cleaner than the intake water cleaned for municipal drinking water.
Brewers across the world are experimenting with this practice, but customer interest is lagging. The idea of drinking beer made from toilet water is a less-than-appetizing thought, and even knowing that it has been treated is not enough to clear up those revisions from ingesting something that once made its way through a sewer pipe.
In case it seems like a fad or a publicity stunt, the idea of sustainable beer brewing has been around for a while. One of the first known commercially sold batches of beer brewed using reclaimed water was back in 2018 in Sweden by Nya Carnegie Brewery, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, and Carlsberg Sweden as an effort to break the public’s resistance to drinking wastewater. Reuse Brew is a German beer brewed in a campaign to raise concern for environmental issues and to show an extreme of how reclaimed water can be reused. Lost Grove Brewing based in Boise, Idaho, has also been making beer with reclaimed water for the last few years.
Most recently, the Village Brewery in Canada introduced a toilet water brew—a limited-edition blonde ale brewed in partnership with University of Calgary’s Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets and a water technology company by the name of Xylem Inc. as an effort to show the role of reusable water in the beer production process.
What do you think? Would you be okay with drinking a beer brewed with water that was once in the toilet? We want to hear all about it in the comments. Bottoms up!