CHENNAI: "NEWBrew" isn't your typical beer as recycled sewage is used to create the new Singapore blond ale.
The alcoholic beverage is the result of a partnership between Brewerkz, a regional craft brewery, and PUB, the nation's water organisation. NEWBrew was first introduced at a water conference in 2018 and went on sale in April at Brewerkz locations and in supermarkets. To increase the island's water security, NEWBrew employs NEWater, Singapore's brand of drinking water made from sewage that started flowing from treatment facilities in 2003. According to PUB, the new beer is a part of an initiative to inform Singaporeans about the value of recycling and sustainable water use.
The concept of turning sewage into drinking water, which was originally largely opposed, has gained popularity over the past ten years as the world's fresh water supply has come under growing pressure. According to the World Wildlife Fund, 2.7 billion people experience water scarcity for at least one month out of every year.
Advanced nations with scarce fresh water resources, like Singapore and Israel, have already implemented the technology into their supplies. Cities like London and Los Angeles are considering whether to follow suit.
The public must be convinced that water is merely water after it has been processed if the technology is to be expanded."NEWater perfectly suits brewing because it tastes neutral," said Mitch Gribov, Brewerkz's head brewer. "The mineral profile of water plays a key role in chemical reactions during brewing."
Not everybody is persuaded. A student Low Yu Chen, 22, from Singapore, stated, "There are many kinds of beers around. If I wanted a beer, I'd pick something made of normal water."
However, according to many who have tried NEWBrew, it is a light, refreshing ale that is ideal for Singapore's tropical environment.
After trying the ale, Grace Chen, 52, said, "If you don't tell people it's made from waste water, they probably won't know."