4 Pines unveils world's first space beer bottle
Aussie space beer pioneer Vostok - a joint venture between 4 Pines Brewery and Saber Astronautics - has unveiled the prototypes for the world's first space beer bottle.
While space travellers normally need to drink using a straw or squeezy tube, the Vostok beer bottle will allow users to drink beer in space just as they would on earth.
The bottle makes its debut at the 4 Pines Manly Mothership on Thursday, April 12 at Yuri’s Night at the Brewpub. Yuri's Night is 4 Pines annual space party that celebrates the first human in space; Yuri Gagarin in 1961.
The Vostok Space Beer bottle features modified technology that utilises the same principles as fuel tanks to circumvent the challenges of drinking in zero gravity.
“Without gravity any liquid is difficult to drink in space without resorting to using a straw or squeezy tube,” Dr Jason Held, CEO of Saber Astronautics, explained to Beer & Brewer.
“Carbonated drinks like beer are even harder because of the way bubbles form in zero gravity which make them uncomfortable to drink. This was the first challenge we solved in 2010 when we developed a beer recipe that had just enough bubbles to be comfortable to drink while still ensuring you could taste the bubbles on your tongue.
“The final challenge has been to develop a bottle that would enable the space traveller to drink beer at zero gravity just like they would on Earth. To achieve this, the bottle incorporates a special insert that uses surface tension to wick the beer from the bottom of the bottle to the mouthpiece so you can drink normally. Flight tests with ZERO-G Corporation proved the concept works great so now it’s time to make a bottle that fits the hand.”
The bottle prototypes are in the final stages of testing, which will include one last test flight at zero gravity. This next phase of testing, development and manufacture of the world’s first batch of space beers is estimated to cost $1 million USD.
Vostok was formed seven years ago by Held and 4 Pines Brewing Company co-founder Jaron Mitchell with the aim of creating the world’s first beer to be drunk in space; from the beer recipe to the patented bottle technology.
“There would be very few of us that don’t enjoy having a beer when you’re travelling and if you have the opportunity to travel to space and have forked out a good amount of dollars to do it, then I’d be wanting a beer,” said Mitchell.
“We’ve anticipated that demand and are on track to meet it. It’s extraordinary to reflect on what we’ve achieved since 2010. It’s been a self-funded project to date and we’re on the cusp of creating a comfort product that will benefit all of mankind in space.”
The beer itself is a dry Irish style Stout made with a seven-strong malt line-up. 4 Pines picked a high flavoured beer as the baseline recipe (the original Earth version) to ensure that space travellers could enjoy the full flavour of beer we have become accustomed to on Earth, despite the human physiology challenges.
In September 2011, the team began developing the technology that would allow space adventurers to drink the beer from the bottle. The biggest challenge being the liquid’s inability to pour in zero gravity meant that a special space beer bottle is required.
Here's a video of an early test of the bottle:
The company launched its Indiegogo campaign to fund the project on April 7.
Click here for details