San Diego-based craft brewery Ballast Point is taking sustainability to heady new heights, by using condensate from air conditioning systems to make beer.
Ballast Point has teamed up with San Diego International Airport to use waste water for the new SAN Test Pilot beer. The airport has been collecting the condensate dripping from the AC units on jet bridges for several years as part of its conservation efforts, and currently captures about 375,000 litres per year. But previously this had only been used for cleaning, and for the facility’s cooling towers. Now, people are paying for the pleasure of drinking it!
According to the airport, the condensate water is quite pure, with total dissolved solids of 9 parts per million versus the San Diego municipal water supply which is about 600 parts per million. The low mineral content makes it a “blank slate” for beer, and an ideal base for brewers. Of course, the water gets treated first. Water Works Inc purifies it using ozone disinfection, and then Ballast Point runs it through a standard production process that includes carbon filtration.
“Through the years, our R&D brewery has experimented with water reclamation as part of our commitment to sustainability,” says Aaron Justus, Ballast Point’s director of research and development. “SAN Test pilot is uniquely San Diego in that all the water is purified and reclaimed from just down the street, significantly reducing the overall carbon footprint.”
We can certainly drink to that. Although be warned, at 5.8 per cent alcohol, the Test Pilot will get you flying pretty quickly.