Sparkling But Not Stinky: S'pore Beer Uses Water From Toilet


Sparkling But Not Stinky: Singapore’s Craft Beer Uses Water From Toilet

NewBrew is not your regular beer, although it tastes just like it. A collaboration between Singapore’s National Water Agency (formerly known as the Public Utilities Board or PUB) and local craft brewery Brewerkz, this blonde ale is made of recycled toilet water—yes, the kind of liquid we use to flush our excrements. And before you cover your nose at the thought of flush water being used in beverages, know that NewBrew was released for public consumption in April 2022, about four years after its launch at a water conference.

This alcoholic beverage uses NEWater, the Singaporean brand of recycled drinking water from sewage that was introduced in 2003. While mainly used for industrial and air-cooling purposes, NEWater also offers a potable water source. The process ensures sewage water is subject to microfiltration and is treated with reverse osmosis and ultraviolet disinfection, ensuring purity.

Only recently on sale, the blond ale was met with mixed reactions. Some consumers were satisfied with the taste as it suits the tropical climate, disregarding the unsavoury origin of the beer. On the other hand, the innovative beverage did not sit well with some beer enthusiasts, casting doubts on the product’s massive consumption.

Singapore’s Water Woes

But NewBrew’s unusual concept appears to bode well for Singapore, a city at the forefront of Asia’s sustainability and green movement despite facing environmental issues on its own. In particular, Singapore is dealing with water pollution and shortage because of its limited land supply. It is heavily dependent on imports from Malaysia, rainfall, or desalination of sea water amidst a shortage of venues for water storage facilities. To combat its supply woes, Singapore has mounted campaigns about water conservation. It also punishes citizens found to be wasting water during critical periods. Innovations like NewBrew may not be the ultimate solution to a global issue, but they bring valuable attention to the issue.

Brands like this is one of the many ways that Singapore is catching up on the adoption of sustainability practices in the F&B industry. Another example of such sustainable products in Singapore is this lab-grown meat, which demands less water while addressing the gaps in food production.

NewBrew is not the first brand to try and create beer using recycled water. Nya Carnegie, a Swedish brewery, collaborated with an environmental science laboratory and famous beer brand Carlsberg to develop beer with treated toilet water. Similar countries and cities facing water difficulties, such as Israel, London, and Los Angeles, are also working on this issue.

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