Twisted Trunk Brewing in Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Cooperstown, NY’s Brewery Ommegang have teamed up with Captains for Clean Water in Fort Myers, FL to tackle a toxic issue blooming in Southern Florida: blue-green algae. The breweries are planning a special release called Southbound, a Belgian-style Pils that will launch in May.
Proceeds from sales of the beer and from the launch event later this spring will raise funds for Captains for Clean Water, enabling them to continue their work to protect Florida’s waterways and draw attention to this dangerous issue.
“Captains for Clean Water is an organization that brings people together to work for science-based solutions to one of the greatest threats to the future of Florida,” said Captain Daniel Andrews, the organization’s founder. “As a result of decades of water mismanagement, Florida’s East and West Coasts have been plagued by damaging, unnatural discharges of polluted freshwater from Lake Okeechobee. Meanwhile, Florida Bay is suffering from hyper saline conditions as a result of significantly decreased flows of freshwater into the bay that are required to balance and maintain salinities. The solution to these problems is the restoration of the Everglades, and time is of the essence.”
Although far from Florida, Brewery Ommegang is no stranger to water-related issues. The brewery has long been one of the most outspoken opponents to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in New York State which they believed would seriously threaten the brewery’s water supply, in addition to the local waters. Ommegang’s involvement is thanks to John Oteri, Brewery Ommegang’s sales representative in South Florida.
“The moment I decided to step up and do something about this situation was last June, right after my son was born,” Oteri said. “This was the time of one of our worst blue-green algae blooms to date and my family had been informed that there may be some airborne toxins associated with this particular bloom. Not only was the smell awful but we came to the realization that we didn’t live in paradise anymore. I knew once the national news coverage went away so would the awareness. I contacted Twisted Trunk and Captains for Clean Water because both are doing great things in the community and I thought we should work together to help raise money and awareness to fight this problem.”
Twisted Trunk’s Francis Andrewlevich was on board immediately after being approached by Oteri.
“The first time I saw the brown mucked up water I thought I was on another planet, said Andrewlevich. “I knew we had to do something to get it back to the Florida we all know and love.”
Southbound, the collaborative beer, was brewed at Twisted Trunk on Friday, March 24 by their brewing team and Justin Lottridge, a 10-year veteran of Brewery Ommegang. The beer will be available in cans and only during a launch event will be hosted at Twisted Trunk on Saturday, May 20. The brewery will donate proceeds from beer sales and the event to Captains for Clean Water. Additional details about the event are forthcoming.
Captains for Clean Water advocates for healthy marine ecosystems in south Florida by improving water quality. Florida has been compromised by development and agriculture. Through Everglades Restoration and local watershed projects, we can preserve our estuaries.