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Is There an Environmentally-Friendly Way to Brew Beer?

When a major drought puts a premium on water, companies such as Stone Brewing in San Diego, California, have to think seriously about sustainability. To illustrate that point, the nation’s ninth-largest brewery recently unveiled Full Circle Pale Ale, a beer made with treated sewage water. San Diego's Pure Water project, which hopes to purify enough recycled water by 2035 to handle one-third of the city’s drinking water, had offered the brewery an opportunity to use a new water source.

A toast to sustainability:

  • Stone Brewing produced five barrels of the pale ale. CEO Pat Tiernan said that the recycled water was actually purer than the brewery's usual water supply.
  • Full Circle brewer Steve Gonzalez admitted he was initially skeptical. ”Among the pale ales that I’ve made, it’s probably in the Top 3,” he said. “It’s a very clean-tasting beer.”
  • In 2015, an Oregon water treatment company organized a competition that required craft brewers to brew beer using 30 percent purified wastewater. Some said they prefer the purified water because it lacks certain minerals found in tap water.
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