Gilbert-based brewery to use recycled wastewater in its beer

Desert Monks Brewing Co. says the purified wastewater helps conserve water... and tastes better.
Desert Monks Brewing Co. says the purified wastewater helps conserve water... and tastes better.
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 9:56 AM MST|Updated: Jul. 7, 2023 at 10:54 AM MST
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GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A Valley-based brewery will soon use purified, recycled wastewater in its beer.

In the face of Arizona’s ongoing drought and Colorado River water crisis, the owner of Desert Monks Brewing Co. says this is all in the name of water conservation and making the best-tasting beer possible!

How is this possible? Scottsdale Water has what’s called an Advanced Water Treatment Plant that can purify wastewater within 24 hours.

How is this possible? Scottsdale Water is home to an Advanced Water Treatment Plant, the first permanent facility of this kind in Arizona. Within 24 hours, it can purify and treat wastewater so it’s safe for drinking. While it’s not used in the city’s drinking water supply yet, that could change.

“In the next two to three years, by 2025 to 2026, we will be using our ultra-purified water and putting that into our drinking water system here in Scottsdale,” said Brian Biesemeyer, the executive director of Scottsdale Water. Before that happens, he says the department has to go through a permitting process with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Wastewater includes anything that goes down the drain in your home, from the shower to the kitchen sink. The Scottsdale plant puts the water through a multi-step purification process that includes reverse osmosis. It takes about 24 hours from start to finish, and the facility can produce about 20 million gallons per day. Learn more about it here.

The plant was built in the 1980′s and is primarily used for irrigation. “We’ve tested bottled water compared to our direct potable reuse water, and our direct potable reuse water is purer than bottled water,” Biesemeyer said.

Wastewater will be part of the brewing process of Desert Monk's newest lager.

Over the years Scottsdale Water has hosted showcases and competitions for Valley brewing companies as a way for folks to get used to the idea of drinking the ultra-purified wastewater. Since 2019, it has had a special permit so it can do demonstrations. Sommer Decker, one of the owners of Desert Monks Brewing Co., was part of that. She says they liked the quality of the water so much, they want to use it permanently.

Starting this month the company will pay for the water and the transportation of the water to its brewery. “It is about the beer,” Decker recently told Arizona’s Family. “We have found that this water, it is so clean. It’s such a clean slate to start brewing our beer with that really allows the flavor of the beer to showcase itself without any other things that come with the water we would otherwise get.”

Decker says it typically takes more than 200 gallons of water to produce five barrels of beer. She believes this is the future of the industry.

“I understand some people will have some apprehension about it, but we hope that they can move past that concern to knowing that we have researched the water,” Decker said. “Scottsdale has done extensive research. We have found it better than what we can make otherwise. And it really makes our lagers that much better.”

Decker says they will start brewing with the purified wastewater this month and it will be on tap this summer, beginning on July 8.