Saving butterflies with a buzz: The Butterfly Brew is back

Fair State Brewing Cooperative

Cou better way to save local species of butterfly than to drink a beer?

Fair State Brewing Co-op has again joined with The Minnesota Zoo to release a limited-edition brew: The Dakota Skipper Endangered Reserve. Also called the “Butterfly Brew,” every beer purchase puts $1 toward helping the zoo in it’s efforts to save not only the Dakota Skipper butterfly, but all pollinators through a Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program.

This beer is only available starting July 13th through August 31st (or until all of us lucky Minnesotans drink the kegs dry).

It’s easy to wonder whether these types of events actually make a difference, or if it’s just another (good) gimmick to sell beer (it must be the the cynic in me). Is there actually an impact?


This press release from the Zoo on June 22nd highlights, through partnerships with The Nature Conservatory, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, that were able to reintroduce The Dakota Skipper prairie butterfly to the Nature Conservancy’s Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie preserve.

The Dakota Skipper had not been seen in this preserve for over eight years. This was after the zoo had been working on a breeding program since 2013, a first of its kind. With the support of beer bellies all across the Twin Cities, it is now a reality.

There is of course still plenty of work ahead in order to keep the Dakota Skipper on the road to recovery. No one is quite sure why it disappeared from the Hole-in-the-Wall preserve (which is a protected preserve) in the first place. The reason for its disappearance from other areas of the state, however, is a simple one: Only 1% of prairie still exists in Minnesota. As this is the only area in which the Dakota Skipper can live, more efforts will be needed to first preserve the prairies, and then reintroduce the butterfly.

The Dakota Skipper Endangered Reserve (Butterfly Brew) can be found at the following locations:

State Fair Brewing Cooperative Taproom, 2506 Central Avenue, Minneapolis
Black Sheep Eat Street, 512 North Robert Street, St. Paul
Black Sheep North Loop, 600 Washington Avenue, Minneapolis
Smack Shack, 603 North Washington Avenue, Minneapolis
Lolo’s Stillwater, 233 Main Street North, Stillwater
Rock Elm Tavern, 16605 County Road 24, Plymouth
Mill Valley Kitchen, 3906 Excelsior Blvd, St. Louis Park

If you’re curious about the beer experience, head here for a discussion of taste, ingredients, ABV, IPU, etc. Then, raise a glass in support the conservation of The Dakota Skipper, and help spread some good out in the world while getting a buzz.