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DDWS to release branded beer to support refuge

By Staff | Jan 7, 2021

Artist Emily Alvarez at work on the label for Wild Daze Pilsner. PHOTO PROVIDED

The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge had hoped to toast the 75th anniversary of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge last month with a privately-labeled pilsner beer in partnership with Fort Myers Brewing Company. However, aluminum shortages due to COVID-19 have pushed the brand unveiling to late 2021 — in time to celebrate DDWS’ 40th anniversary. Profits from sales of Wild Daze Pilsner will benefit wildlife research, education and conservation at the refuge.

“For the new year, we’re announcing a new beer,” DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller said. “We have a lot to celebrate in 2021, and Wild Daze promises to add sparkle to the celebration. We thank Fort Myers Brewing Company for this spirited collaboration.”

“Community involvement has always been important at Fort Myers Brewing,” founder Rob Whyte said. “This past year has proved how important getting out in nature can be for everyone’s mental and physical health, so when the ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Society reached out about this collaboration, it was an easy decision.”

“Encouraging people to get outside, conserve our wild spaces and enjoy a nice cold beverage as they do it is a great opportunity,” he added. “We are excited about supporting the J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge in this unique and special way.”

JJ Taylor Companies will distribute canned Wild Daze Pilsner throughout Southwest Florida to restaurants, bars and stores. The exclusive brew will be available with a limited window of about six months. The Wild Daze Committee commissioned native Miami artist Emily Alvarez to design an exclusive label for the canned beer.

“Having originated in a bustling city where fruit grows all year ’round, I try to incorporate the abundance of energy and life I grew up surrounded by within my work; this manifests in dynamic composition, brilliant colors and larger-than-life characters,” Alvarez, who grew up near the Florida Everglades, said. “This beer label will be directly inspired by my experiences with South Florida wetlands.”

“Our goal is to expand ‘Ding’s’ appeal to a wider, young, multi-cultural audience in a fresh new way,” Miller said. “Fort Myers Brewing staff share the refuge’s mission to get people outdoors.”

Anyone interested in serving on the Wild Daze Committee or those looking for more information can contact project leader and DDWS Development Officer April Boehnen at 239-472-1100 ext. 4.