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From sewer to brewer, let’s raise a toast to the first beer made using recycled urine!

Posted on Jul 4, 2017 8:48:00 PM

Pisner beer.jpgMost people when they think of beer and Copenhagen it would be Carlsberg that comes to mind. And they are certainly doing some fantastic work in the bio-economy with the development of their Green Fiber Bottle. But there’s a remarkable new beer making sustainable headlines in Denmark… Pisner. Not Pilsner, Pisner. Why? Well the story begins at the Roskilde music festival in 2015, where 54,000 litres of urine was collected from its attendees. The liquid waste product was used as a fertiliser for 11 tons of malting barley used to produce this cheekily named beer, which although containing no actual traces of urine, owes its growth to this most bountiful of liquids. Urine is more organic than the traditional animal manure or factory-made plant nutrients. In a move Denmark’s Agriculture and Food Council (DAFC) has lovingly dubbed “beercycling,” the brand name Pisner is now ready to go on sale.

"60,000 bottles of PIS have been brewed in collaboration with Nørrebro Bryghus."

"When the news that we had started brewing the Pisner came out, a lot of people thought we were filtering the urine to put it directly in the beer and we had a good laugh about that," said Henrik Vang, chief executive of brewery Nørrebro Bryghus.

The DAFC hope that more people start talking about sustainability and recycled beer is a good place to start. The idea shows that we can re-use body waste that we usually flush down the toilet and transform this into a valuable nutritient. 60,000 bottles of PIS have been brewed in collaboration with Nørrebro Bryghus. The huge amount of urine produced at festivals was having a negative impact on the environment and the sewage system.

“We're a 100 percent organic company, and even though Pisner actually isn't 100 percent organic, the idea of recycling beer is such a good vision that we couldn't really say no to being part of it,” Henrik Vang, executive director at Nørrebro Bryghus, told The Local.

Photo courtesy of The Local.After the naming of their product, executives appreciated that ‘Pisner’ was a bold marketing choice which divided customers. Henrik Vang, executive director at Nørrebro Bryghus added, “that it's good to be honest. Then we can explain what it's all about.”

“We wanted to keep it simple and call it what it is. That's a lot simpler for marketing than an explanation of circular economy, but still shows we want to recycle our resources,” said Lisbeth Odgaard, DAFC’s branding manager.

Scientists from Belgium created the unique beer formula. The urine is collected in a tank and heated in a solar-powered boiler. As the water evaporates, it passes through a membrane that filters out the remaining nutrients from the liquid. Scientists at the University of Ghent think their machine could provide fertilising minerals and clean water for people in developing areas where electricity isn’t readily available.

The brewing process started in the end of March and the public were able to taste the finished product alst month. Skål!

Issue #4 of Bio-Based World Quarterly

For more stories like this you might be interested in:

How TV recycling has inspired Unilever to tackle sachet packaging waste.

How is Ford testing nature's wonder material in their car interiors?

Growing plant-based footwear is “just the first step” for Reebok.

Why it's now time to replace your cling film with beeswax.

Bonaveri BNATURAL mannequins inspire the fashion industry.

Carlsberg's new bio-based beer bottles to ‘step up' to sustainability targets.

How orange peel is inspiring a new alternative to plastic packaging.

Topics: BBWNFeatures

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About the Author

Emily O'Dowd
Emily O'Dowd
On graduating with a degree in English Literature at Royal Holloway University of London, Emily joined the editorial team. When she isn't writing articles for the website or interviewing experts in more