Cape Breton brewery teams with research group to produce shark-inspired beer

An unlikely partnership between marine scientists and beer maestros is behind a new shark-inspired brew.

Cape Breton’s Big Spruce Brewing just launched the beer in partnership with Dalhousie-based Ocean Tracking Network, with some proceeds earmarked for ocean research.

Big Spruce owner Jeremy White said he took on the project because the company wants to help endangered species and protect ocean habitats.

“We’re known as Canada’s ocean playground,” White told Global News. “Looking toward efforts to help endangered species and protect habitats in the ocean should be really important to all Nova Scotians.”

The beer — called Tag! You’re It! — is being marketed as “the IPA with a bite” and will give 50 cents from every can towards ocean research, with a total of 20,000 cans being produced.

Brendal Townsend of the tracking network says it is a great way to educate people about sharks, since many are not aware of how many different species are in Nova Scotia waters.

“We thought, you know what? We have to find a better way to get shark education outreach to the public. What better way than to team up with Big Spruce?” said Townsend.

He said the populations of many large shark species have dropped 90 per cent. His group is in the process of researching the blue shark, which Townsend says is at serious risk due to the popular shark fin trade.

“Many shark populations … have dwindled to near extinction. Blue sharks are going to be on that list soon if we don’t do something,” he said. “We’re trying to track these young females — they like this area off Eastern Passage for some reason.”

White said the new product could be just the beginning of a partnership bound by conservation.

“We’re going to work with them and see if we can’t come up with another marine animal that we can put on the next can and do another fun beer with them as well,” said White.

A second batch is scheduled to be released in October.

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