Budweiser seeks to go where no beer has gone before -- Mars

SOURCE: NASA / GREG SHIRAH / MGN
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NEW YORK (CBS) -- Budweiser is taking one small step to ensure that when mankind takes its giant leap to Mars, Bud will be the drink of choice on the red planet.

The brewing giant is planning to launch a supply of barley, a core ingredient in beer, to the International Space Station (ISS) on Dec. 4.

The barley seeds will be carried aboard one of SpaceX’s supply rockets and will then be studied by the scientists to see how the grain reacts to growing in a micro-gravity environment.

The project is more than a publicity stunt or random science project, according to Budweiser officials, who announced at the South by Southwest conference in March that the company was aiming to have its beer in production on Mars when humans arrive.

“Budweiser is always pushing the boundaries of innovation and we are inspired by the collective American Dream to get to Mars,” said Budweiser’s vice president, Ricardo Marques. “We are excited to begin our research to brew beer for the red planet.”

The barley seedlings will reportedly be in orbit at the ISS for 30 days as the crew studies the germination process. The seeds will then be returned to Earth for Budweiser to examine the results of low-gravity growing.

It’s not yet known if beer will grow differently in space. Scientists found that whisky matured in space tasted much different from regular Earthbound alcohol. The booze provided by Scottish distiller Ardbeg in 2011 was found to have a radically altered flavor profile that was described as “rubbery smoke.”