Exceptional wastewater treatment allows local brewers to utilize MSD recycled water in a special craft brew

August 14, 2019


What’s the most significant ingredient in beer? Water. Four local brewers have experimented with a new water source for a unique craft brew: recycled water from Louisville MSD.

The Next Round Brewing project will debut its products at the Water for Life event in Louisville on Sunday, August 18, a water festival on the Big Four Lawn from 1-4 p.m. The four participating brewers will provide tasting samples of their brew. Local water professionals will explain how recycled water works and the high-tech treatment process that made the Next Round Brewing project possible.

What is recycled water and how does Next Round Brewing Work?

Recycled water (treated wastewater) is the end-product for Louisville MSD. Every day, the utility collects the community’s used water and treats it at one of its five Water Quality Treatment Centers before releasing it into local waterways. The treated wastewater or effluent that MSD discharges into our waterways is cleaner than the water already in the receiving water body, meeting strict regulatory guidelines. For the Next Round project, the MSD recycled water was put through additional treatment—with a system built locally for the project by Isopure—to bring it up to drinking water standards, with independent third-party laboratories verifying the quality. Four local brewers: Akasha Brewing Company, Apocalypse Brew, Gordon Biersch and Holsopple used the recycled water as their source for a craft brew.

Beer’s connection to water

Kentucky’s craft brew business is rapidly growing. According to the Kentucky Guild of Brewers, there are 68 active licenses in the state, up from only five 10 years ago. Because most of the beer is water, the quality is critical. For brewers in Louisville area, that water usually comes from Louisville Water Company and goes directly into the recipe.

No new water

So why experiment with recycled water? MSD and water professionals from Kentucky and Tennessee want to demonstrate the quality that goes into not only producing drinking water but treating all the water we use. Remember the water cycle? There is no “new water.” Utilities like MSD and Louisville Water must focus on science to provide exceptional wastewater treatment and high-quality drinking water.

Additionally, Next Round Brewing is an opportunity to talk about the future of water. Our city is fortunate. The Ohio River provides us with an abundant source of water. But across the United States, water-stressed communities are investigating using recycled water as a source for drinking water.

Ultimately, the Next Round Brewing project will spark a conversation about water and create a new appreciation for something most of us take for granted.