This “world’s first beer for space” has been eight years in the making.
Eating and drinking almost anything in space requires a bit of creativity to deal with the issues of zero gravity, so an entirely recreational beverage like beer would seem to be an unlikely product to get the space treatment. But as the prospects of space tourism gain momentum, an Australian brewery has realized that—from planes to trains to boats—no form of commercial transportation is complete until you can drink on it, so they’ve designed the “world’s first beer for space.” Now they just need $1 million to put it in production.
Vostok Space Beer has been created out of a partnership between Australia’s 4 Pines Brewing Company and Saber Astronautics, a company dedicated to “making space controls so easy your kids can use them.” As the collaborators explain, developing this beer was a multifaceted problem. Due to zero gravity conditions, the gas doesn’t naturally separate from the liquid, so the beer itself has to be reimagined “from scratch.” (For the record, it’s a stout.)
Meanwhile, you can’t just tip a bottle and pour the beer into your mouth because, again, no gravity—so extensive work went into replicating the feel of drinking a bottle of beer on Earth. “It’s got to be sitting in your hand like a bottle, not a squeezy bag,” explains Jason Held, CEO of Saber Astronautics, “and you’re not going to drink beer out of a straw. We’re not going to do that to our astronauts.” In the end, they used “modified technology based on fuel tanks.”
Though it all may sound a bit crazy, Vostok says it’s involved a crazy amount of planning. The brand explains that it launched back in 2010, first tested the beer in microgravity conditions in 2011 and completed the first phase of designing the bottle the following year. By late 2017, the company said they were searching for a manufacturer for the bottle. And now here we are: Over the weekend, Vostok launched an Indiegogo campaign to try to raise enough money to produce the bottles. The fixed funding goal: $1 million.
For a minimum of $90, backers can get their very own Vostok Space Beer Bottle—beer not included—with an estimated delivery date of December 2019. In reality, the bottle is little more than a novelty, seeing as you likely won’t be traveling to space with it anytime soon, even by the year 2020. Still, it’s manufactured for use on Earth as well, even including a removable cup at the bottom that you can pour the beer into. And if you want to be a big spender, for a donation of $20,000 or more, you can actually put the bottle to use, gaining entrance to an exclusive zero-gravity test flight.
But Vostok wants you to know this is about more than just getting a $90 piece of memorabilia. “With your backing, you can play a small role in sending the comforts from home with those who venture beyond our planet,” the Indiegogo campaign states. Yes, this is for the greater good.
Still, $1 million seems like an ambitious goal. Though the campaign doesn’t appear to be a flat out publicity stunt—the technology looks real—the whole thing seems to make for a good story more so than a sensible way to get space beer literally off the ground.