Space beer: coming soon to an unforgiving airless void near you

Space is no stranger to beer. Astronauts have farted about with beer fermentation, in orbit, in the past. The Russians have tried their hand at growing barley and hops in the International Space Station's Zvezda module and, during the early years of their space program, the USSR attempted to crank out freeze-dried beer that was halfway palatable for their cosmonauts to enjoy in the vacuum of space – but it wasn't, so they didn't. Fast forward to the present day: a pair of companies are doing their damnedest to create a beer and bottle that'll let astronauts get their drank on in the inky depths of the vacuum that surrounds our home.


Australian beer company 4 Pines Brewing and space-engineering firm Saber Astronautics Australia are building a special bottle for their pioneering "Vostok Space Beer, which was named after the vehicle that cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin rode to orbit in April 1961. The companies are asking for $1 million on Indiegogo to make the design a reality. (As of Wednesday, May 9, just 3 percent of that total had been raised, with 23 days to go.)

Participants in the Indiegogo campaign can buy a prototype of the beer bottle for themselves; the two companies are using the fundraising campaign to market the bottle and to let the public join the research effort. The funds will be used to complete the industrial design of the bottle and to fund people researching it in flight…

In order to test how the bottle and the beer, which should more accurately be described as a stout, perform in zero gravity, Saber Astronautics and 4 Pines plan on enlisting the not-for-profit  space research company, Astronauts4Hire, to chug-a-lug the brew during parabolic flights.

It sounds like a great idea, except for the fact that bringing beer into space is a terrible idea: booze has a way of leading to terrible judgement and regrettable decisions. Those are two things that those fortunate enough to work in the unforgiving conditions that space as to offer can likely do without. As it stands, NASA's astronauts don't imbibe a drop of alcohol while they're on the job. Until Space tourism takes off or a more permanent, safer way to live among the stars crops up, taking a six pack into space could be a hard sell.