Sustainability campaign

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Every year at the Roskilde Festival many thousands of litres of beer are ingested, and it’s not pure water coming out of that. On the other hand, it is excellent manure, and this was turned into the recycling-beer Pissner.

From pilsner to piss to more pilsner.

In 2015, the Danish Agriculture & Foods Council launched the activity Beercycling at the annual Roskilde Festival, at which urine was gathered in special containers. The purpose was to demonstrate the recirculation capabilities of agriculture, on a backdrop of mostly negative public debates focusing on pesticides and polluted groundwater.

55,000 litres of urine were gathered, and afterwards diffused onto fields of malting barley, and brewed by the organic brewery, Nørrebro Bryghus. Two years later, in 2017, the Danish Agriculture & Foods Council was ready to return the beer to the guests who had supplied the manure.

But the festival guests had not only supplied the manure. As part of the launch, they helped name, design, and test taste. Via social media, and in collaboration with P3 (A Danish national radio channel), possible names were gathered, and the best found by a popular vote. Also, the design of the beer label was decided by the Danes via another popular vote. The Danes had now supplied and delivered the piss, the name, and the design. And most decidedly deserved a beer.

The only challenge being that the beer could not gain admittance to Roskilde Festival due to a contract with a beer producing main sponsor. In fact, it was not considered a welcome presence in Roskilde and environs.

You can take the piss out of Roskilde Festival, but you can’t take Roskilde Festival out of the piss. 

Therefore, all of those who had donated manure to the Pissner, had to get back their investment. A great warm up event to Roskilde Festival was set up at Axeltorv in central Copenhagen, and free Pissner was given to all and sundry. On social media, outdoor, print and online media, Danes were invited to enjoy a free Pissner before the festival so that all might get a taste of the truth that recirculation is not taking the piss.

Select results.

  • An estimated reach of 300 million people globally, via press mention in international media: CBS News, World News, International Business Times, BBC News Day (Radio), USA Today, Huffington Post, British NME and American Pitchfork, etc.
  • More than 50 mentions in Danish printed media. 
  • Pissner gained more than 50 million viewings on social media. 
  • One single film post resulted in 25,000 likes, 6,400 shares, and 4,9 million viewings.
  • On Twitter, the story was exposed to more than 40 million people in five days.
  • 50,000 bottles were distributed and sold in the summer of 2017. In the wake of inquiries from e.g., USA, Australia, England, Germany, Holland, Italy, France, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Poland, Israel, etc., a further 25,000 bottles were produced.

Do you want to know more?

Christina Tønnesen

Contact Christina Tønnesen
Phone: +45 21 70 95 89