AB InBev prepares to brew beer on Mars

March 15, 2017
By Alana House

AB InBev has announced a “Bud on Mars” initiative with the aim of becoming the first brewery in space.

The company revealed the plans to research and build a Budweiser microgravity brewery on Mars at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. 

“Through our relentless focus on quality and innovation, Budweiser can today be enjoyed in every corner of the world, but we now believe it is time for the King of Beers to set its sights on its next destination. When the dream of colonising Mars becomes a reality, Budweiser will be there to toast the next great step for mankind,” Budweiser VP Ricardo Marques said in a statement.

Marques and Valerie Toothman, AB InBev’s Marketing Innovation VP, discussed the concept during a panel moderated by The Martian star, Kate Mara, and featuring retired astronaut Clayton Anderson as a panellist.

“When you’re in a zero-gravity environment, a beverage with carbonation is going to be an issue,” Anderson explained.

However, Budweiser is researching options that could work. It’s currently exploring “a partnership that could lead to flying malt and other experiments on the International Space Station.” 

Anderson noted that while the idea “poses considerable technical challenges”, “popping the top on a cold Budweiser mid-mission” could serve as integral to a successful space mission by “providing crew members with commodities that remind them of home.”

“This takes the Budweiser experience to a whole other level,” Toothman said. “We know that colonisation of Mars could be a decade or two away, but we want to make sure that Budweiser is the beer that people are toasting with on Mars when we get there.”

Space beer not a new concept

AB InBev isn’t the first brewer to explore the idea of space beer. Indian start-up TeamIndus has received $1.3million as part of Google’s Lunar XPRIZE competition and is planning to mount India’s first-ever private mission to the moon later this year – a team of University of California students want to join the mission and discover whether yeast can survive and ferment beer on the Moon.

Two years ago Heineken launched one of its brews into space. In 2015, Ninkasi Brewing released a beer made with yeast that had completed a successful journey to space and back. Japanese brewer Sapporo has also made a beer from barley grown on the International Space Station.

Meanwhile, students at the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program launched monitoring equipment — and grape seeds — into space from McLaren Vale and Mount Barker in January.

The seeds were carried via balloon more than 23 kilometres above Earth, where they were exposed to extreme conditions and solar radiation. 
“When [the grape seeds] come back down we are going to get our resident biologist to do some experiments on them and see if the seeds are still viable after they have gone into space,” student Jessica Todd told ABC News. “We are hoping that, following this, we can plant them and grow some space wine.”

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