The wait is finally over for those who have been wanting to enjoy a tipple of Sapporo’s “Space Barley” beer, a beer brewed from space-grown barley. Until December 24th, Sapporo will have an online lottery for orders of a six-pack. 250 people will be chosen from the lottery, and allowed to purchase the beer. As with everything flown into orbit, space beer isn’t cheap though: the six-packs will run 10,000 yen apiece, which converts to about $110, or almost $19 a bottle.
This is the second lottery that the Japan-based Sapporo has held for access to the beer, though last time around there were only 60 people chosen to taste the beer. The name of the beer really says it all – Space Barley beer is made from barley descended from the barley grown on the ISS during a 5-month experiment back in 2006. That original barley isn’t still being used, though: the current brew is made from the fourth generation of the stock grown on the ISS.
Sapporo teamed up with a researcher from Japan’s Okayama University, Manabu Sugimoto, who has been taking part in a Russian study to grow edible plants in space. Peas, lettuce and wheat have all been grown and harvested in space as well. Barley was chosen because it is a rather hardy plant that will grow in a variety of environments at a range of temperatures. Sapporo made it into beer because, well, what else are you going to do with leftover barley from space?
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If you think that the beer will taste different, think again: Sapporo spokesman Yuki Hattori said Monday, “Some people may expect the space beer to taste very different, but its selling point is that it’s the same.” It shouldn’t taste any different indeed, given that an analysis of the DNA from the barley grown on the ISS showed no difference from plants grown right here on Earth.
Ian O’Neil had the brilliant idea of using recycled space urine from the ISS to make the space beer more “complete.” If that were the case, though, I’m sure the company wouldn’t have had over 2,000 people enter the lottery by last Sunday. If you want to get in on the orders, you might have to be able to read Japanese. The only link I could find to the internet lottery is in Japanese.
Though it may be a bit of an advertising gimmick, the proceeds from this latest sale of Space Barley will all go to Okayama University with the aim of promoting children’s education and space science research.
Hopefully between now and the fifth generation brewing of this beer, the ISS can grow some space peanuts to go along with the drink, or at least use some of the harvested wheat to make some space pretzels shaped like little stars.
Source: ABN Newswire