Italian brewery launches first ever beer made of air

The Birra Flea microbrewery in Gualdo Tadino, central Italy, has brought a new recipe to beer: air.

It's what every beer drinker in the world wants, a beer that you can muster out of thin air. Now a microbrewery in the Italian region of Umbria is doing just that.

Birra Flea has launched the world's first craft beer made of air. It's called Sans Papiers – Biere de l'air.

"Beer is made of 90 per cent water. We just extract water from the air," Alessandro Tozzi, a marketing spokesman for Birra Flea, told The Local.

"It all starts with a machine that condenses hot air into water," adds Tozzi. Birra Flea's condenser can produce 1,200 litres of water from hot air per day.

The water is then mixed with barley malt, hops and yeast to produce beer. Birra Flea, founded by two local beer lovers, claims to use "the best barley since the Middle Ages," according to its website. Birra Flea's beers are unfiltered and unpasteurised. 

Compressed air has been used in beer production for some time, although mainly for bottling, clarifying – whereby  a pressure-driven centrifuge removes heavier solids – or during aeration, required to ensure yeast cultures have sufficient oxygen during the fermentation process.

The Sans Papiers – Biere de l'air claims however to be the world's first beer that draws its core ingredient, water, from condensed air.

The new variation of Birra Flea, which produces nine different types of beer, including Blonde Ale, IPA, a Belgian Strong Ale and an Imperial Ale – is set to hit the market soon.
It is part of the eco-friendly and sustainable approach that the microbrewery has adopted since its inception in 2013.

"The whole process is done sustainably," Birra Flea's Tozzi told The Local. "The whole brewery is powered by solar power from panels on the roof."

All papers and plastics used in production, and even the brewery's glasses, are made of recycled products. The new Birra Flea produced out of thin air will now compete with the brewery's other beers made of water from the Rocchetta fresh springs on the outskirts of Gualdo Tadino.

Most of the staff at the microbrewery are local residents from the Apennine Umbrian town of Gualdo Tadino. Some had no experience of working in beer production and have been trained by the brewery's founders since 2013.

Birra Flea is available in pubs, bars and supermarkets across Italy and already exports between 15 and 20 per cent of its beer to markets in Europe, the USA, Australia and Far Asia, according to Tozzi.

A five-fold expansion is also in the works. A new brewery is under construction which will be five times larger than the current set up. The new site should be active from 2019, adds Tozzi.

And finally, consume responsibly: the beer is unlikely to vanish into thin air after too much consumption.