Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

‘AUAS beer’ heavenly water wins catering award

20 Jan 2017 09:42 | Communication

Hemelswater, literally ‘water of heaven’, is a beer brewed with rainwater. This week Hemelswater won the Innovation Award at the Horecava, the national catering trade fair. Hemelswater was created by the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences' MediaLAB and is brewed by Amsterdam brewery De Prael.

With the Horecava Innovation Award, Hemelswater was declared the overall winner across all nominations at the catering trade fair last Monday. Hemelswater also won in the Food & Beverages category. This is not the first award for Hemelswater; since its launch in July 2016 it has also won the ASN World Award.


The inspiration for creating the Hemelswater beer is the increased amount of precipitation due to climate change. The AUAS MediaLAB, part of the Amsterdam Creative Industries Network, has been working closely with Amsterdam Rainproof for some time, in an effort to increase people's awareness of heavier rainfall.

What if we would catch the water of these torrential downpours and use it, for example, to brew beer? This was the creative light bulb that suddenly switched on with Joris Hoebe, coach at the AUAS MediaLAB. Students and lecturers jointly conducted initial brewing tests led by his colleague Pavel van Deutekom. De Prael brewery, in tandem with the MediaLAB team, launched the beer which was christened Hemelswater.

Hemelswater beer is produced from the rainwater falling on the Wibautstraat, where most of the AUAS buildings including the MediaLAB are located. The beer, which has been given the name ‘Code Blond’ is available at various bars.


After the success of the Hemelswater beer, a student team from the AUAS minor in Entrepreneurship started with a new line of Hemelswater: Gin-Tonic. The team approached the distiller Arthur Kruijt of Zaandam, who distilled the mix for them. The caught rainwater is used for making the gin. The students collected the rainwater from the Intratuin garden centre basin, where it is filtered.

Last month, the students had the first batch of Hemelswater Gin-Tonic bottled. AUAS Commercial Economy student Quirijn Oorthuys: "We selected a bottle with a high quality look and feel. The cool thing here is that this is an entirely new product. This is the first time that a Gin & Tonic in a bottle delivers the exact high quality as a Gin & Tonic served by a professional barman."

The students are now in the process of talking to various catering venues. The idea is for these premises to install a water butt to gather rainwater. The students will collect this raw- water with electric carts to filter it, and deliver their Gin-Tonic bottles in return.

The students behind Hemelswater Gin-Tonic attend four different universities of applied sciences (Avans, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences) and all follow the AUAS minor in Entrepreneurship.