Craft-brew innovations like instant beer and spontaneous fermentation sure make Budweiser sound pretty lame in 2017, but fast-forward a hundred years to when humans destroy Earth, and you may be calling the planet’s boringest beer maker the real pioneer. At SXSW this weekend, the mega-brewer said it’s exploring ways to make beer that can exist on Mars, since of course that’s where our species will have to settle.
On a panel with outer space enthusiast Kate Mara and astronaut Clayton Anderson, two top Budweiser execs discussed the logistics of brewing beer in space — chief among them how to carbonate it sans gravity. As Anderson noted, “When you’re in a zero-gravity environment, a beverage with carbonation is going to be an issue,” but the company says it’s working on that: “We’ve already started to construct a set of experiments to take our barley malt up to the space station to understand what kind of effect those low-Earth-orbit conditions puts on [the grains],” Anheuser-Busch’s VP of marketing innovation Valerie Toothman told the panel. “Then, bringing [the grains] back to Earth; planting them; growing, harvesting, and testing them; and understanding what kind of changes might happen.” They’re also investigating how to use Mars’s ice, because beer is about 90 percent water.
Budweiser admits that life on Mars “could be a decade or two away” (which frankly sounds a bit optimistic), but the company doesn’t want the first Martian colonists to have to toast their arrival with Tang or space espresso. “When we can enjoy a few ice-cold Buds on the red planet, that will be the moment when we can truly realize our dreams of space colonization,” it argues.