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Fernson Brewing Company Launches New “Zoo Brew” Beer to Benefit the Great Plains Zoo

Fernson Brewing Company and the Great Plains Zoo have created a new beer for a great cause.  Zoo Brew, a new golden ale developed by Fernson Brewing Company, will be sold for a limited time only in Sioux Falls Hy-Vee stores. Two dollars from each Zoo Brew case sold will benefit the Zoo’s Brown Bear exhibit, scheduled to open late next spring. 

“We’re grateful to Fernson Brewing Company and Hy-Vee for their generous partnership on this exciting Zoo Brew project,” said Elizabeth A. Whealy, President and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History. “The outpouring of community support and interest in our new Brown Bear exhibit has been tremendous. The launch of Zoo Brew is just one example of how the Sioux Falls community is involved in helping us create a top-notch exhibit for our Brown Bears and our visitors.” 

“It’s amazing to see Zoo Brew transform from a dream into reality,” said Riccardo Tarabelsi, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Fernson Brewing Company. “We’re thrilled to offer a great tasting product that is brewed and sold locally, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting our local Great Plains Zoo.” 

A six-pack of Zoo Brew retails for $8.99, and is available at the two Fernson locations and seven Hy-Vee stores throughout Sioux Falls.   

“Our seven Sioux Falls area Hy-Vee stores are proud to partner with the Great Plains Zoo and Fernson Brewing Company, two fantastic, local organizations,” said Matt Heldenbrand, Store Director of the Sioux Falls Empire Mall Hy-Vee store. “Being a part of this worthwhile cause and raising money for the new Brown Bear exhibit is another way Hy-Vee is pleased to give back to the wonderful Sioux Falls community we proudly serve.”    

The $2.4 million Brown Bear exhibit project will renovate and expand one of the Zoo’s oldest and most popular exhibits to provide enhanced viewing and educational opportunities for the Zoo’s nearly 316,000 annual visitors. A new training demonstration window will give visitors the chance to view behavioral training that Zookeepers do every day with their animals.  A new Bear habitat-themed children’s play area will include a kids’ fort where children can get a bird’s-eye view of the exhibit. Signage and hands-on interactive elements will be created with science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) learning principles in mind. The project also includes a modern and efficient water filtration system that will reduce staff labor and cut utilities expenses, and more “bedrooms” for Bears, allowing the Zoo to care for up to four Brown Bears. 

About the Great Plains Zoo
The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering a greater understanding of our natural world through education, conservation, recreation and discovery. The Great Plains Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) – a leader in wildlife conservation. Less than 10% of animal institutions in the United States have met the high standards for AZA accreditation.


  • Love this zoo! Great place to get a walk in and the animals are everywhere! The museum/indoor part is very educational too. Has a lot of shade for when it's hot out. Very clean. Friendly staff.

    Taylor FSioux Falls
  • We love to visit the zoo. They have great outdoor exhibits and lots to do inside as well. Great for kids and adults.

    Robin A
  • Lots of great exhibits and animals to see! Fun gift shop and learning center.

    Stephanie N
  • A really great zoo featuring some exotic species and I liked the focus on conservancy/breeding to preserve species for the rhinos. The safari area's cheetah was awesome to see. During a week day going, it was quite open to walk around and enjoy without too much crowding.

    Joseph H
  • The museum gives you a break from the sun on hot summer days and has a great selection of animal exhibits from around the world.  The zoo keeps growing and adding new animal habitats or improving existing ones.  Membership offers reciprocal benefits to other zoos around the country.

    Bill T