The use of rainwater for food production is unique and has never been used on a large scale before. But at the same time it is very current to use rainwater as an alternative to tap water. Climate change is putting increasing pressure on the drinking water supply, while the demand for drinking water is actually increasing due to economic growth and population growth. This has already led to a shortage of clean drinking water for more than a quarter of the world's population.
The idea of using rainwater arose from a project in the municipality of Groningen in which the rainwater on the Euvelgunne business park must be disconnected from the sewer system. Climate change is also causing more and more nuisance during heavy showers and the sewage system can no longer cope with this. The distillery of Hooghoudt is located in this business park.
VIDA Demonstration project
The European VIDA project also ran during the disconnection project in Groningen. This is a European project funded by HORIZON 2020 to support innovations by small and medium-sized enterprises operating in European food chains with the aim of improving the use and efficiency of water, food, energy and key technologies.
As part of this project, the company D2D Water Solutions received a subsidy to demonstrate that the Drop2Drink unit they developed can produce drinking water from rainwater and that it is suitable for use in food production. 'We are of course very proud of this result and very grateful for it Hooghoudt participated so actively in this project', says director Johan Bel. 'Only in this way will innovations have a chance'.
Municipality of Groningen
The municipality of Groningen is very happy with this visible result of sustainability and circularity. 'Flooding is becoming an increasing problem in our municipality due to the changing climate,' emphasizes alderman Glimina Chakor (Sustainability & Circular Economy). 'By keeping clean rainwater out of the sewers, we are making Groningen sustainable and climate-proof step by step. I think it's great that we can achieve this with so many different parties and companies at Euvelgunne.'
Hooghoudt has of course been involved in various progressive projects for more than 130 years, the Graanrepubliek in Bad Nieuweschans opened its doors this year. This project also fits perfectly with our idiosyncrasy.
Arno Donkersloot: 'A family business can only remain relevant for future generations by innovating, taking on challenges and deeply understanding what you stand for. Innovation and technology are part of this and enrich the craft of distilling. Creating the first jenever worldwide from rainwater fits perfectly with the journey of discovery that Grietje and Hero Jan Hooghoudt started in 1888.'
The first production of rainwater jenever consists of a 'limited edition' of 700 bottles. This is available at some of our ambassador liquor stores. With a successful reception in the market, this will certainly be followed up.