Food & Drink

This Is More Than a Pilsner, Griffin Claw and Detroit Zoo Say -- it's a Gift to Piping Plovers


July 01, 2019, 2:25 PM by  Alan Stamm

This new brew from Birmingham is for the birds. 

No, really -- sales will benefit efforts to protect the Great Lakes piping plover. 

Piping Plover Pilsner is introduced Monday to launch a "Survival Series" of four craft beers from Griffin Claw Brewing Co., in teamwork with the Detroit Zoological Society.

"For each beer sold, Griffin Claw will donate a portion of proceeds to support the [society's] wildlife conservation work," the pair say in a media release at each of their websites.

The state doesn't let breweries "tie a donation amount directly to sales of a beer," Griffin Claw marketing director Chris Lasher tells Deadline Detroit. "What we are going to do is sell this beer to raise awareness for the Detroit Zoo’s conservation efforts.

"We are also pledging to make a donation to the Detroit Zoological Society . . . based on the amount of beer we are producing for this partnership. I can tell you that the donation would equate to over 10% of the proceeds."


Griffin Claw wants "to engage our customers in helping to save the planet and the wildlife that inhabit it.” (Photo: Instagram, Detroit Zoo)

The Royal Oak nonprofit's share will be used at "to work on the captive-rearing effort for the Great Lakes piping plover," the announcement says.

Each summer for nearly two decades, the [society] has organized a large group of bird care staff from zoos across the country who travel to Michigan’s Biological Station in Pellston. . . . The team incubates eggs and raises chicks from abandoned piping plover nests or broods. The chicks are cared for until they fledge and are ready to be released to join wild plovers.

When a federal recovery program was established by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in 1986, fewer than 20 pairs of Great Lakes piping plovers existed and this isolated population was close to extinction. Though the species is still extremely vulnerable to extinction from predation, beach development and nest disturbance, the salvage captive-rearing program has been part of an effort that has helped recover the wild population to 63 pairs in 2018, nearly halfway to the recovery goal of 150 pairs.


Piping plover -- a beer beneficiary.
(Photo: Sue Barth for Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

The release quotes Ron Kagan, executive director and CEO of the zoo organization, as saluting Griffin Claw's help "to raise awareness of [the] recovery efforts." Oddly, he also frames the beer tie-in as a generational thing, as least in part:

"We think our Millennial audience in particular will enjoy helping a good cause while drinking a great beer."

OK, whatever that means. 

The six-year-old suburban microbrewery also toasts its new pilsner's role in global survial -- "a fun way to engage our customers in helping to save the planet and the wildlife that inhabit it,” in the words of sales director Kyle VanDeventer. 

Upcoming Survival Series releases will support conservation work for Grauer’s gorillas, Panamanian golden frogs and Partula snails.


Read more:  Griffin Claw Brewing Co.


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Photo Of The Day 

Potd_img_6455_373 Spotted on Washington Blvd. in downtown Detroit

By: Allan Lengel