Would you drink beer made from recycled shower water?
A nice, hot shower and a cold brew are high on the list of things that just feel right after a long day. And for one San Francisco company, the two have become inextricably linked. The water treatment company Epic Cleantec has ventured where few breweries have dared to tread before: It’s using recycled wastewater to make its beer.
While beer drinkers might initially feel a certain “ick factor” when it comes to this news, you can rest assured that the water has been properly treated before brewing begins.
On its website, Epic Cleantec describes itself as “the leader in onsite water reuse systems for real estate developers and property owners.” It works with real estate developers and building owners to help lower utility costs and improve their sustainability.
Right about now you’re probably thinking, “Sure, that’s great and all … but what’s the deal with that beer?”
The beer is called Epic OneWater Brew. It’s a Kölsch-style ale, which is a light beer with German origins.
The water in question comes from the luxury residential building Fifteen Fifty, the first approved onsite greywater operation in San Francisco’s history. It can recycle 7,500 gallons of wastewater each day from showers, bathroom sinks and washing machines for use in flushing toilets and other accepted applications.
Aaron Tartakovsky, the CEO and co-founder of Epic Cleantec, explained that the company teamed up with a local brewery to make sure the recycled water was being put to good use.
“Buildings globally use 14% of all potable water. Almost no buildings reuse that water — that’s what we’re trying to change,” he said to CNN.
The concept for the recycled wastewater-to-beer model was born in 2022, and production started out small in September when Epic Cleantec transported about 2,000 gallons of recycled water to its brewing partner, Devil’s Canyon Brewing Co., the company said on its blog.
The batch included just 7,000 cans for educational purposes. The beer isn’t currently on sale to the public due to regulatory issues regarding recycled water use.
While the steps Epic Cleantec uses to purify wastewater make it suitable for non-drinking purposes, municipal systems utilize two extra steps to get rid of chemical contaminants to make it safe for drinking. In fact, the company says, it’s cleaner than what federal standards require.
Here’s a video Epic Cleantec produced to show the production process:
Despite some qualms from the public, the project has gained momentum and doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
“We have a lot of people who are asking for more of it, just because beyond being an interesting environmental story, the beer actually just tastes really good,” Tartakovsky said to CNN.
Would you try it?