Scarcity: Raising awareness of water recycling through reuse beer

More than 3.6 billion people live in areas that are potentially water-scarce at least one month per year. This means reusing water is more important than ever, and we need public engagement to help more people learn about and be comfortable with this innovative water solution. To date, Xylem has worked with numerous partners to make reuse beer, wine and spirits to raise this awareness and 2019 included two notable examples of this, one with Manchester City Football Club (Manchester City) and the other with Berlin Centre of Competence for Water.

To celebrate Manchester City Football Club retaining the Premier League title in 2019, Xylem teamed with City and the Heineken Manchester brewery to produce “Raining Champions” – a limited edition beer made with purified rainwater collected from the rooftop of Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. “Raining Champions” is part of a broader partnership between Xylem and Manchester City to engage and educate football fans globally about water challenges and the actions the public can take to make a difference.

“By 2050, it’s projected that more than five billion people could suffer water shortages,” says Joseph Vesey, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Xylem. “What better way to educate football fans about these urgent challenges than by toasting the club with a rainwater brew? Through this initiative, and our wider ‘Closer Than You Think’ campaign, we aim to inspire the next generation of fans to think differently about water challenges and solutions.”

The rainwater used in the beer was purified to the highest drinking water standards using Xylem’s advanced treatment technologies, including filtration, ultra-violet light and powerful oxidation. For more, see this video.

In 2019, Xylem also partnered with a water utility in Berlin, Berliner Wasserbetriebe, and the Berlin Centre of Competence for Water to produce “Reuse Brew” – a beer made from purified and treated wastewater. The beer was showcased at the International Water Association (IWA) International Conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse in Berlin, alongside a range of Xylem’s water reuse solutions.

“With the Berlin Reuse Brew, we want to demonstrate that the technical possibilities of turning wastewater into drinking water are almost limitless,” says Ulf Miehe of the Berlin Centre of Competence for Water.

In order to guarantee the highest possible quality and consumer safety, the water used to brew the beer was treated with Xylem’s advanced technologies. The combination of ozone and activated carbon is an established process that Xylem offers in an integrated solution, called the OxeliaTM process. In a final treatment step, the Xylem’s MiPRO process with ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide, the so-called "Advanced Oxidation Process" (AOP) brings the water to the highest possible purity level.

“The beer was great. It was a malty brown ale with nicely balanced hops and carbonation,” wrote Andrew Gebhart, Senior Associate Editor at CNET, which spotlighted the beer. “While the Reuse Brew itself was just a one-time experiment, the tech behind it could have important implications for the future of beer and the future of drinking water in general.” Watch Andrew’s tour of the wastewater plant and his beer tasting here.

Xylem is currently partnering with TUM, the technical University Munich, to produce a new batch of Reuse Brew-Beer made from purified Munich wastewater.

Read Xylem’s 2019 Sustainability Report