Anticipating a human colony on Mars within several decades, Budweiser announced its intention of someday brewing the first ever beer on Mars.
The company hopes to conduct experiments and studies on the International Space Station’s (ISS) US Laboratory at the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) as first steps toward its goal.
In a March 11 announcement at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, Budweiser representatives said they are seeking a partnership with the ISS that will enable them to fly malt and other experiments on the space station.
Former astronaut Clayton Anderson and CASIS marketing and communications manager Patrick O’Neill attended a “Bud on Mars” themed happy hour at the festival.
Anderson, who spent a total of 152 days in space over two separate missions, acknowledged NASA has long-term plans to send human astronauts to Mars.
“A successful mission will include many key components, including the need to provide crew members with commodities that remind them of home. Popping the top on a cold Budweiser mid-mission could very well be one of those things,” he wrote in an email to the website collectSPACE.com.
“While the idea poses considerable technical challenges, the concept–which may lend itself to some valuable initial test ideas and experiments on the space station–is valid and potentially worthy of consideration with respect to a commercial partnership,” he explained.
Valerie Toothman, Vice President of Marketing Innovation for Anheuser-Busch, the company that manufactures Budweiser, praised the initiative as its first step to a future of solar system colonization.
“We know that travel to Mars might still be a decade or two away, but this is the first step in the journey in a long-term commitment by the company to make sure that when we get there and we achieve that American dream, Budweiser is the beer people will be toasting with and will be enjoying there on Mars.”
Budweiser beer is a lager composed of two- and six-row malt, rice, and hops that uses the same strain of yeast company founder Adolphus Busch used in 1876.
However, that comprises just 10 percent of the recipe. The other 90 percent is water, which exists only as ice on Mars.
Because Mars has only one-third the gravity of Earth, bottles would have to be designed differently.
Past experiments testing non-alcoholic carbonated beverages on the space shuttle were not successful.
Due to the long travel time between Earth and Mars, the ingredients required for beer may have to be grown on Mars.
Short-term studies on the ISS will focus on the effects of microgravity on barley malt and on identifying the best barley strain that can be grown in a low-gravity environment, Toothman said.