You wouldn’t know if you tasted it, but Epic OneWater Brew is a beer with a peculiar ingredient: it’s made with water recycled from the showers, sinks and washing machines of a residential building.
The beer is safe to drink, thanks to a series of treatments that include microfiltration and ultraviolet light, and it is meant to bring attention to the issue of water scarcity and reuse.
“Buildings globally use 14% of all potable water,” says Aaron Tartakovsky, CEO and co-founder of Epic Cleantec, the San Francisco-based water treatment company that made the beer in collaboration with a local brewery. “Almost no buildings reuse that water — that’s what we’re trying to change.”
The beer is a Kölsch-style ale — a crisp, light-bodied drink originating from Germany — and was made with recycled graywater from Fifteen Fifty, a 40-story luxury apartment building in San Francisco. But it’s not for sale, as regulations prohibit the use of recycled wastewater in commercial beverages. At least for now.
A ‘solar’ moment
Epic Cleantec equips buildings with its water recycling system, eliminating the need to discharge wastewater into a sewer to transport it to a remote treatment facility. The system recycles up to 95% of wastewater, according to the company — either what is known as blackwater, which comes from toilets, or graywater, which comes from sinks, washing machines, bathtubs and showers.