Brewing giant SABMiller has begun using South African firm SurePure's liquid photopurification technology, which cuts down on energy costs by using ultraviolet light instead of heat to purify liquids during the brewing process.
"SABMiller's Flavoured Alcoholic Beverage (FAB) Brewery, situated in the west rand of Johannesburg, brews 11 FAB products via an ambient brewing process facilitated by UV photopurification, a world first," Sure Pure said in a statement earlier this month.
"Research completed indicates that UV processing of FABs in the packaging plant negates the requirement for pasteurisation or preservative addition."
Photopurification is an environmentally friendly alternative to pasteurisation and chemicals, using UV-C (short-range) light to purify microbiologically sensitive liquids such as wine, milk and fruit juice.
The collaboration between the two firms has led to the commercial production of a lager brand that uses UV production in the brew house process that doubles the shelf life of conventionally brewed beer.
Studies on beer packaged in clear glass also found that using UV photopurification replaces costly filtration processes.
"This is the first time in the history of brewing that this technology has been applied to the brewing process," said SurePure senior marketing executive Steve Miller.
"SurePure's technology significantly differs from the existing technology being used by SAB and utilises the world's first UV-C photopurification process that can be used on turbid liquids.
"It uses light instead of heat to purify beer and other brewed products, including finished product, something no other UV technology can accomplish," he said.
The technology is a first as it is also effective on both clear and turbid liquids.
"SurePure are game-changers in brewing and can help win the race for the reduction in energy and water costs, as well as improvement in quality and throughput," said master brewer Craig Groeneveld.
"The global brewing implications are enormous if SurePure finds the resources to exploit them."