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"Keg of rainwater, please"
"Keg of rainwater, please"

The rainbeers are coming! An Atlanta Brewery which was making beer from rainwater has been told to stop gathering  the water by city officials.  Probably encouraged by Miller lite and other big brewers, the EPA and officials at the local and State level have been persecuting the tiny indie brewery.

Rainbarrel manufacturer RainHarvest Systems probably never imagined their barrels being put to use by the brew pub. But Atlanta’s 5 Seasons Westside Brewery did just that, capturing rainwater, filtering it, and using it to brew up some of the greenest beer flowing.

The operation was quickly shut down by health officials.

A fast friend to the eco-community in Atlanta, the relatively new 5 Seasons offers natural, “real” food and beer brewed by brewmaster Crawford Moran. The brewery was already making green efforts in their production methods by reusing cooking oil from the kitchen to fire their kettles. 5 Seasons took it to the next level by using only the rainwater in their beer production, an act that fulfilled their “commitment to environmentally responsibleproduction” and actually improved the taste of their beer. Moran says the rain beer tasted smoother and better than that made with municipal water, in part because rain water is incredibly soft. According to Holland, “the 1/8rain]water is purified through 6 stages of filtration, followed by a dual-beam ultraviolet sterilization that results in water of superior quality to tap water.”

The 5 Seasons filtered rainwater passed University of Georgia Soil and Water Laboratory certification, but operations were still stymied by officials at the local, state, and federal level. Moran notes that the filtered rainwater was certainly “potable” before being put into beer production, but there are no statutes discussing rainwater for such use, so his idea was kicked despite having produced hundreds of gallons of beer.

“The EPA wants to weigh in on (the situation)…It’s a touchstone case for the future of commercially-used water, because you know this thing is going to become more and more popular. It’s all about education at this point: Showing them how it works, and how it’s maintained, and how it’s good for the state.” As 5 Seasons Brewing waits for the red tape to fall, the world waits for the outcome of his ingenuity.

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10 Responses to “Wish we thought of that!”

  1. Steve Goldman

    Who owns the water?

    There is so much freshwater up here in Canada that it often occurs to me that the USA will wage a water war to get what it wants!
    -Steve.

    Reply
  2. michael thomas

    this is insane, who the hell can tell you to STOP collecting rain water? is it just me or is big brother getting way out of hand, can you say none of your damn business….

    Reply
  3. vandeg

    I brew at home and rainwater is far superior to almost any water source! Depending on your well water though, calcium rich water is good. Either way I have a friend who did a rainwater batch, though it was pretty green, the mouth feel was really good. I also would hate to break it to the officials in Atlanta but most microbreweries get their water from the city and filter it and even if it is pumped from a well its filtered. Why should rain be any different?

    If I have to buy beer, its usually from a local brewery anyway. It tastes better, you know who brewed it, get first hand answers usually from the brewer about whats in it and I reuse the bottles to make my own beer. (I can only use crown caps, not those twist off tops)

    Buy microbrew whenever possible otherwise homebrew because the more you make the cheaper it gets and you can also make more beer that is weaker but still able to keep with time, in essence your water supply can be kept over a long period of time. Look up smallbeer…

    Reply
  4. Berry Edwards

    Hey before you get too far up in arms. Consider that they are producing a product for human consumption. I think its an awsome idea and initiave, however, you have got to be able to back it up with a defensible evidence that you are producing a clean product. The EPA, FDA & Public Health Department etc. have an obligation to do just that especially where it involves product made for human consumption. The fact that they aren’t up to speed on some of the technology is exactly why education is neccessary. I sincerely hope that the brewery is successful in doing so because they are truly on the right track. However, no regulatory agency will go out on a limb to approve new technology until the proponetants of that technology can prove that it is viable and safe and can be documented. You can thank the lawyers for that mind-set.

    By the way if Budweiser or Miller could collect enough rain water and insure consistency they would have done it a long time ago. Large breweries are focused on reducing costs wherever possible while maintaining a consistent product. They certainly aren’t worried about a brew pub in Atlanta since the Cartersville, GA plant produces more beer every 30-min than a large brewpub can produce in an entire year.

    Re: Taxes & Alcohol: The taxes paid by the brewery, distributor & retailer (3 tier States incl. GA) far exceed any kind of revenues that would be collected by the sale of the potable water used for brewing. The same goes for the taxes associated with a brew pub that manufactures and sells their product on-site.

    By the way in several municipalities in California they do use recycled water for potable water in some cases it may be consumed ,”expelled” & treated again 5-7 times before it ever reaches the ocean. The breweries in those areas also use that water.

    I suggest that people continue to support the brewery and their efforts as it will benefit everyone in the long run.

    Reply
  5. wayne

    Of course 5 Seasons is being persecuted… they aren’t paying TAX on rainwater, as they would if they used city water to make their beer. TAX is what fuels all branches of government.
    That’s the real reason things won’t change much…

    Reply
  6. cadfael

    Ye gods!!
    What is WRONG with these people?!!
    Dutch, I think you just hit the nail right on the thumb, cant POSSIBLY have something that is not overpriced,over processed, but above all FREE!!
    Land of the free?
    yeah, right, but only if you pay through the nose for it!

    Reply
  7. Lornkanaga

    Considering Atlanta’s water shortage, they should be happy a business is reducing its municipal water usage in a responsible manner.

    Reply
  8. Kriket

    Wait…. they are regulating what falls out of the sky?! Maybe they should make beer with recycled urine. See what the health department thinks of that.

    Reply
  9. Dutch Barracuda

    I can hear the rumbling now.
    “Not using our mains supply? Gathering your OWN water? Refusing to pay our extortionate water bills in our arid country? Despicable.”
    I so desperately want to line up these bureaucrats, running along with one hand out and slapping them all in the face.

    Reply
  10. Wretha

    Big Bro, leave them alone! It amazes me that the “authorities” would have no problem with them if they had used the chemically enhanced city water, but let them use what nature provides and boom, the government puts a big stop to it.

    Reply

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