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Fernson “Zoo Brew 2019” Release Party to Benefit the Great Plains Zoo’s Lion Exhibit

May 16, 2019

Fernson Brewing Company, Hy-Vee and the Great Plains Zoo will host a launch party for the newest specialty “Zoo Brew”, with proceeds to support the Zoo’s upcoming Lion exhibit. The party will be held at Fernson’s Downtown taproom on Tuesday, May 21, from 5 to 8 p.m. Cans of Zoo Brew will be $4, with $1 on each beer supporting the Zoo.  In addition, the Zoo’s ambassador animals and handlers will mingle with guests on the Fernson Downtown patio. This is the third summer of Zoo Brew, which Fernson has developed exclusively to benefit the Great Plains Zoo. 

“We think it will be a lot of fun, and hope people come out to celebrate the Zoo,”says Fernson CEO Joel Thompson. “The support from the community for Zoo Brew is really exciting. We think this new recipe is another winner and we’re excited for the public to try it out.” The brew is a ‘summer lager’ and has a brighter flavor than Lion’s Paw Lager. “It’s just a great, lighter summer beer,” Thompson says. 

“Zoo Brew represents a great partnership with Fernson Brewing Company and Hy-Vee, and we’re grateful for their commitment to supporting the Zoo,” said Elizabeth A. Whealy, President and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History. “Zoo Brew has developed a great following and we’re excited to continue this collaboration to benefit our new Lion exhibit.”

Fernson brews a different beer each year for Zoo Brew, and has since 2017, when the first Zoo Brew helped fund the new Fortress of the Bears exhibit. 

A six-pack of Zoo Brew retails for $8.99, and will be available for a limited time at the two Fernson locations and seven Hy-Vee stores throughout Sioux Falls, along with Hy-Vee locations in Brookings, Yankton and Vermillion.   

“Our local Hy-Vee stores enjoy partnering with the Great Plains Zoo and Fernson Brewing Company,” said Matt Heldenbrand, Store Director of the Sioux Falls Empire Mall Hy-Vee store. “Adding a new Lions Exhibit at the Great Plains Zoo will be a wonderful new addition to the community and we’re excited to help make this the newest great attraction to the Zoo and Sioux Falls.”

The new Lion habitat will feature a pride of up to 10 Lions, including cubs, and additional exhibits for Leopards and Meerkats. The project also includes renovations to the Zoo’s Café to expand seating and enhance exhibit viewing opportunities for the Zoo’s 300,000 visitors. To learn more about this project, visit 


The Great Plains Zoo and 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. Fewer than 10% of animal institutions in the United States have met the high standards for AZA accreditation.


Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 245 retail stores across eight Midwestern states with sales of $10 billion annually. The supermarket chain is synonymous with quality, variety, convenience, healthy lifestyles, culinary expertise and superior customer service. Hy-Vee ranks in the Top 10 Most Trusted Brands and has been named one of America’s Top 5 favorite grocery stores. The company’s 85,000 employees provide “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle” to customers every day. For additional information, visit

  • 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 F.
  • 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.
  • 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.