Some breweries are recycling waste water (gray water) as part of their responsible water management practices. Some breweries in California are taking advantage of Orange County’s “toilet-to-tap” regimen which cleans up wastewater to recharge groundwater aquifers.
Firestone Brewing Company’s wastewater gets treated and put back into the groundwater. At Bear Republic, new technology recycles wastewater for cleaning and converts it into usable energy.
Cambrian Innovation’s EcoVolt system, the offshoot of a MIT PhD project originally intended to help NASA, take the brewery’s wastewater, extract pollutants, and turn them into “biogas” energy to be used on site. The scrubbed water could be used for cleaning and other non-brewing purposes.
Lagunitas Brewing Company is also using Cambrian’s EcoVolt system which is reducing the company’s water ratio from four gallons per produced gallon of beer to about 2.5.
As reported by FoxNews, San Francisco beer maker, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company has been making beer with gray water for its Mavericks Tunnel Vision IPA.
Half Moon began experimenting with gray water in 2014 after being approached by architect Russ Drinker. As Drinker told the Guardian, “if Californians really want to have an impact on our water use, we have to recycle our fresh water … and get over our psychological resistance to that,” he added.
Using NASA water recycling technology Half Moon has created a non-commercially available brew from gray water that has a taste that is reportedly indistinguishable from traditional beer. The beer is currently being used as a tool to educate the public.
To become commercially available changes will need to be made to California law that prohibits the use of gray water.