In a craft brew-crazy world, big beer often bears the brunt of scorn from beer elitists. The massive beerglomerate Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI), for example, drew heat for a Super Bowl commercial that taunted independent brewers. Those brewers then responded by launching a $213 billion crowdfunding campaign to Take Craft Back from the bigger competitors.
Yet, despite the public lashing that ABI takes, its beers are still massively popular: Bud Light had the biggest domestic beer sales of 2016 and Budweiser came in third. So Budweiser and its little brothers aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they’re not satisfied with merely being the biggest beer in the country, or even the world. They’ve got their sights set on the whole goddamn universe.
Last spring at South by Southwest, Budweiser declared its goal to be the first beer on Mars, and will achieve its galactic dreams next week when it sends a batch of barley into space. In partnership with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and Space Tango, exactly 20 barley seeds will hitch a ride on SpaceX’s cargo supply mission flight when it launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida on December 4. Once aboard the ISS, the barley will stay in orbit for a month before returning to Earth.
The logic: Budweiser wants to understand how its ingredients react in microgravity environments so that when we finally do set up shop on the red planet–which could be soon, if Elon Musk has anything to say about it–all the dive bars on Mars will be fully stocked with the American classic.
In a press release, Budweiser said the experiment will help scientists learn how to produce beer on Mars and better understand agriculture back home. “Budweiser is always pushing the boundaries of innovation, and we are inspired by the collective American Dream to get to Mars,” VP Ricardo Marques said. “We are excited to begin our research to brew beer for the red planet.”
One small step for beer, one giant leap for getting plastered with aliens.