TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - Space beer, the result of a five-month mission to boldly grow, where almost no one has grown barley before, has landed in Japan.
The beverage, brewed from barley cultivated in the International Space Station in 2006, has splashed down courtesy of the Russian Academy of Science, a Japanese university and beer giant Sapporo.
But the 100 liters of the 5.5 percent alcoholic brew are not for sale, although tastings are being offered to some earthlings as Sapporo tries to push its brand into a new orbit.
"There's really no beer like it because it uses 100 percent barley. Our top seller is the Black Label brand, using additional ingredients such as rice. This one doesn't, and is really a special beer," Junichi Ichikawa, managing directory for strategy at Sapporo breweries, told a news conference on Tuesday.
Cosmonaut Boris Morukov, who spent 11 days in space himself, says barley joins wheat, lettuce and peas as space station produce, noting potatoes may take root in future studies, although not to make an equally famous Russian beverage.
"I think we would try to grow potatoes as food, not for vodka production," Morukov said.
Beer sales have been falling in Japan and has generally been off space menus because of its alcohol and gas content.
With explorers now eyeing longer trips to Mars, that menu may change, with Japan's Okayama University Professor Manabu Sugimoto advising astronauts not to rule out space rice wine in future.