The first beer cans produced by Yellowknife’s NWT Brewing Company are designed to promote conservation of the territory’s at-risk caribou.
The Five Antlers beers, featuring artwork by Robbie Craig, are a partnership between the owners of Yellowknife’s brewpub and the Conference of Management Authorities, a group of regulatory boards and government agencies responsible for protecting species at risk.
Conference chair Jody Pellissey said the idea came from a similar project on the East Coast in which a brewery supported marine animal research and education.
“We’re hoping this collaboration promotes awareness of NWT species at risk in general. We started out with caribou because they’re our poster animal here in the NWT,” Pellissey said.
“We’re hoping the launch will get people to recognize that we have more than one type of caribou here in the NWT, and the different threats and challenges they face depending on where they live, what they eat, and how they use the land.”
Five Antlers refers to the five types of NWT caribou: barren-ground, boreal, dolphin-union, northern mountain, and peary. The five are managed differently to help the animals recover based on their level of risk.
Illegal harvesting and wastage of caribou are longstanding problems in the NWT. The Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board called a meeting in March to discuss “irresponsible hunting practices” from some hunters along the winter road to the NWT’s diamond mines.
Mel Leonard, a communications manager for the NWT Brewing Company, said the business anticipated Five Antlers would be popular. A second batch is being prepared, he told Cabin Radio last week.
A portion of the revenue from every beverage sold will go toward caribou conservation in the NWT.
The beer is available at the NWT Brewing Company in Yellowknife or at liquor stores in Fort Smith and Hay River.