Beer Funds Glacier Research

What do you get when you mix research with a beer company? Deja Brew, the taste of a 1962 batch of Kokanee beer.

Brian Menounos (source: University of Northern British Columbia)
Brian Menounos (source: University of Northern British Columbia)

In exchange for five liters of meltwater from 1962, the Kokanee Beer company agreed to contribute $10,000 dollars to fund glacier research by Dr. Brian Menounos of the University of Northern British Columbia. The money has been given with no strings attached, Menounos told GlacierHub.

“We don’t endorse products but welcome any industry to contribute to funding research,” he said. “Glaciers are a shared resource and if we can get the word out about why the public should care about them, all the better.”

Like rings within tree trunks, layers within glaciers indicate snowfall from year to year. From these layers, Menounos was able to find ice at the depths associated with the year Kokanee beer was founded, so that a limited edition glacier beer could be brewed from ice from snow that fell then.

Menounos hopes this collaboration will call attention to the urgency of melting glaciers worldwide.

“Like many environmental topics we can’t wait for policy makers to act,” he told GlacierHub in an email. “Politicians typically get elected for four year. Human-induced climate change has accumulated over the past 200 years and will continue unless we commit to substantial mitigation of greenhouse gases. The public’s involvement and interest in a particular topic makes politicians sit up and take notice.”

Ben Palto, doctoral student, drills a hole with an ice auger to place an ablation stake for monitoring melt on the Zillmer Glacier.
Ben Pelto, doctoral student, drills a hole with an ice auger to place an ablation stake for monitoring melt on the Zillmer Glacier.

For a number of years, Menounos has studied the effects of climate change on glaciers in the Cariboo Mountains. His research suggests that by the end of the century, Western Canada’s glaciers will shrink by 70 percent of 2005 levels. Every year, the Zillmer Glacier shrinks by 60 to 70 centimeters.

Kokanee beer will contribute further to this research with the funding. The exchange also allows the company to revive its beginnings.

“Because we were able to grab some of the remaining ice from Dr. Menounos, we were able to, in spirit, look at recreating one of the first-ever batches of Kokanee,” Candy Lee, Kokanee brand manager, told CBC news.

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