Victoria-based brewery crafts new beer to benefit Vancouver Island marmots

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File photo.

A Victoria-based brewery is turning on the taps with a brand-new beer and says proceeds will benefit a foundation supporting an animal that, while unique to Vancouver Island, is critically endangered.

Vancouver Island Brewing has launched the limited-edition Wild Marmot Dunkel to aid the Marmot Recovery Foundation, which was founded in 1999 after “biologists, naturalists, and local communities realized the severe decline in the marmot population,” it says.

The brewery teamed up with the Recovery Foundation, the Victoria Royals and Mount Washington Alpine Resort to craft the beer — a Munich-style dark lager that’s rich but isn’t excessively sweet and has toasted bread crust notes.

One dollar from every pint sold will go directly to the foundation.

“Fueled by the generosity of private donors, our work has been crucial in the fight to save the Vancouver Island Marmot,” said Adam Taylor, the foundation’s executive director, in a news release. “The Wild Marmot Dunkel campaign opens a new chapter in our community-driven conservation efforts.”

The Vancouver Island Marmot, of the squirrel family, is “one of the rarest mammals in the world,” says the foundation. So its recovery team works to release them to the wild, among other objectives, and says their population has increased over the years.

In 2003, there were less than 30 of these marmots living in the wild, and by 2021 there were about 250 of them in more than 20 mountains, states information online.

It’s a “remarkable recovery journey,” the brewery exclaims.

“Funded primarily by private donors, the Marmot Recovery Foundation‘s robust breeding, release, and habitat restoration initiatives have been imperative to the survival of Vancouver Island’s marmots.”

Earlier this summer, for example, 15 were released to the wild, and in December 2022 the foundation said it was coming off a record year for pups born.

“Witnessing the Vancouver Island Marmot population on our slopes from near extinction to a growing community has been an extraordinary experience,” said Mount Washington’s marketing manager Kayla Stockton in the release.

Mean observation counts for 2023, meanwhile, show 296 marmots are living on the Island, but the mammal is still listed as endangered under the federal Species At Risk Act and critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

‘Drink Beer. Protect Marmots.’

So the four organizations are hoping beer enthusiasts will sip on the new lager because “this campaign is about more than fundraising; it’s about joining a story of resilience and hope,” said Joel Rinne, the Victoria Royals’ marketing director.

The team’s mascot, introduced in 2006, is a marmot named Marty.

“We urge our fans to actively participate, championing the marmots with each cheer and pint,” added Rinne.

Vancouver Island Brewing says Wild Marmot Dunkel will be available in its own taproom and at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre during Victoria Royals games and Ted’s Bar and Grill at Mount Washington Resort.

“Drink beer. Protect Marmots,” the brewery added in an Instagram post.

 

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READ MORE: 15 endangered Vancouver Island marmots released into the wild by helicopter

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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