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Scottsdale One Water Brewing Showcase illustrates an ‘ethical, sustainable’ way to brew

Photo of Beer at the One Water Brewing Showcase
Chuck Skypeck, technical brewing projects director at the Brewers Association, said it’s not unusual for local independent breweries to commit to sustainability, since most of them are already small businesses whose products are hyperlocalized. (File Photos/

Locals laud Scottsdale One Water Brewing pursuit for environment

By Naomi DuBovis | Special to the Digital Free Press

Local independent breweries partnered with Scottsdale Water for a showcase earlier this month featuring beer brewed with recycled water. The showcase was meant to educate Arizona residents about Scottsdale’s water conservation efforts.

Valerie Schneider, public information officer at Scottsdale Water, said the partnership began in 2019 when the city got a permit to use recycled water for sampling purposes. The One Water Brewing Showcase happened that same year but went on hold until 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Scottsdale Water website says that the water used in the beers is recycled and treated at the Advanced Water Treatment Plant through a process called direct potable reuse.

Normally, reused water goes through indirect potable reuse, where it’s treated and purified then stored in an aquifer, lake or some other natural buffer. From there, it goes to the city’s potable water system.

Water processed through DPR is sent directly to the consumer instead of going through the natural buffer.

Ms. Schneider says this kind of recycling allows consumers to take full advantage of reusable water, especially since they can access it easily and use it as they see fit.

“It gives us more sustainability directly at the palm of our hands versus water going into irrigation purposes or just being put down into our aquifer that we will have to later get out,” she said.

Chuck Skypeck, technical brewing projects director at the Brewers Association, said it’s not unusual for local independent breweries to commit to sustainability, since most of them are already small businesses whose products are hyperlocalized.

“Maybe a third of the breweries only sell beer on draft right across their own bar in their own facility, and you can’t get much more ethical and sustainable than that,” he said. “You’re not even putting it in a package, and you’re not shipping it away.”

One Water Brewing Showcase
is one-of-a-kind brewing event

Ashley Benson is the head brewer for AZ Wilderness Brewing Company, one of the participating breweries in the showcase. She said that sustainability efforts keep the brewing business afloat.

“I think that, especially in Arizona, it’s really important for breweries to be able to exist,” she said. “I think that when you think about all the things that go into brewing — you’ve got water, you’ve got hops, you’ve got grain and yeast … they’re all agricultural products in some way, shape, or form. And if they don’t exist because of climate change or whatever, then you can’t brew, or it becomes financially impossible.”

As part of its larger sustainability effort, AZ Wilderness has another partnership with Sinagua Malt, which provides local breweries with crops that don’t need as much water. AZ Wilderness used those products to create a brew called “This Beer Saves Water” that aimed to bring awareness to the state’s water shortage.

Mr. Skypeck says that marketing tactics like these can leave a positive impression on customers.

“If consumers are looking for breweries — or any consumer good — that is paying attention to being a good community partner and wanting to be ethical and sustainable in their production, it can’t help but enhance the reputation with consumers and their brands and their brand identity.”

Schneider said that the breweries provided a unique avenue for outreach.

“By our permits, we are allowed to give out water to a beverage space company to create a safe beverage,” she said.

“What better way to do that in a fun and interactive way that is positive than beer?”

Ms. Benson said that she is hoping the partnership will incentivize local breweries to adopt water conservation practices even if sustainability isn’t fundamental to their image.

“There’s different breweries for different people and different reasons, but I hope that them using that water and being able to focus on sustainability for themselves also helps carry that through in the local community a little bit more and in the brewing community specifically,” she said.

Mr. Skypeck said that a tasty brew can bring attention to environmental issues. “There’s something kind of mystical about beer and popular that grabs people’s attention,” he said. “I think if you’re wanting to say, ‘Oh, hey, we provided some clean water to the auto welding shop,’ that doesn’t sound quite the same as, ‘We provide clean water to a brewery.”

Editor’s note: Ms. DuBovis is a journalism student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University.

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