Danish Brewers Are Making Beer With Festival-goers' Urine
The Danish Agriculture and Food Council dubbed the process "beercycling" and adopted it in an effort to be more eco-friendly.
“Just as we have seen shops sell goods that would otherwise have been thrown out, beercycling allows us to recycle a product that is normally flushed down the drain,” Karen Hækkerup, CEO of the council, told The Local.
Usually breweries use animal urine to fertilize barley fields, but this year the Nørrebro Bryghus brewery instead opted for human urine.
“When it comes to circular economy, Danish farmers are some of the best in the world. If you can brew a beer with urine as fertilizer, you can recycle almost anything,” Hækkerup said.
Denmark isn’t the only place to have experimented with urine as fertilizer. As beer is a diuretic, causing people to urinate frequently, researchers in California partnered with Sudwerk Brewery Co. to collect urine from patrons of the brewery in the summer of 2016.
UC Davis’ researchers hope to expand their project to include local farmers in a larger fertilizer recycling program.
Urine contains nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus — all necessary nutrients for plants — and unlike feces, urine carries no risk of passing on diseases such as salmonella, the Scientific American reported.
"Agricultural and health organizations should encourage people to use human urine as a fertilizer," wrote Håkan Jönsson, a researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, who has studied urine recycling for 15 years.
While there is no actual urine in the beer, “golden pilsner” will likely never have the same connotation again.