What happens when you mix wild animals with craft beer?
The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere hosts its third-annual Brew at the Zoo on Friday, May 30th. More than 35 breweries will be on the premises to dispense their microbrew beer, along with local food trucks, live music and animal handlers will be on hand to answer all of the guests’ questions concerning the animals. The proceeds to this adults-only after-hours fundraising event go directly to the Zoo.
Previewing the event is Matt Leff of Rhizome Productions and Jim Bartoo of The Nashville Zoo.
Matt Leff – Producer and Promoter at Rhizome Productions Inc.
How did M.L. Rose get involved with the Nashville Zoo?
– “M.L. Rose has been a big supporter of craft beer the past few years and collectively, we are working to make Nashville a craft-beer destination. M.L. Rose loved the concept of Brew at the Zoo and was able to use it to promote their growth and connection with craft beer. It also doesn’t hurt that they have an owl in the logo. In fact, last year, the Zoo brought out an amazing owl to M.L. Rose on Charlotte for happy hour!”
Twelve breweries from TN will be present at the event. What do you attribute to the growing microbrewery scene of Nashville?
– “We, obviously, are very excited about the growth of local craft breweries and have also been part of that growth. Rhizome Productions started in 2011 and has been supporting and helping local breweries since day one. I think we are going to see more open in the next few years. It’s a very exciting time for craft beer in Nashville and the state of Tennessee.”
Thirty regional breweries from outside TN will also be participating. What do you think is drawing outside breweries into our growing craft-beer scene?
– “Obviously, growth in craft beer is huge all over, however the Southeast is one of the fastest growing. All breweries can see the demand, so many of them are investing their time into the market. We try and give them good opportunities to expose people to their products and of course we support all things craft beer.”
Do you know if any Brewmasters will be attending the event?
– “Many of the locals, for sure. The regional breweries will be represented by employees of the breweries, but not necessarily the brewers.”
Jim Bartoo – Marketing and Public Relations Director at The Nashville Zoo
How did craft beers join forces with The Nashville Zoo?
– “Matt Leff met with our Event Director, Kindell Williams three years ago with an idea to bring a beer festival to Nashville Zoo. Brew at the Zoo events are not unique, as many zoos offer them around the country.”
In years past, what have Brew at the Zoo tickets provided for the Zoo?
– “All proceeds are used in the Zoo’s day-to-day operations. This means anything from park upkeep to animal food to veterinary supplies and medicine.”
I’m attending my very first Brew at the Zoo. What can I expect?
– “Walking around the Zoo in the evening is a whole different experience. Aside from the large collection of beer to sample, we will have several animal exhibits open and keepers on-hand to answer any questions. We’ll have some animals out mingling around with the crowds. There will also be entertainment like fire jugglers and a brass band. Several food trucks will be here. We’ll also have a video screen streaming pictures that guests post during the event. New this year, we’ll have a wine tasting area up near our new Kangaroo Kickabout.”
What’s the newest Nashville Zoo exhibit?
– “We opened a new cassowary exhibit a couple of weeks ago. Kangaroo Kickabout is also new, opening in September last year.”
Can you tell me a little about the new cassowary exhibit?
– “The new cassowary exhibit opened to the public on May 15. Our male cassowary was moved from an exhibit in Bamboo Trail to this new display. Due to the cassowary’s solitary nature, the new exhibit is split into two yards connected by gates so that the male and female can have access to each other during breeding season. Two additional yards away from public view will house another male and future offspring. Females in the wild typically mate with up to three males during a breeding season. The extra yards will connect to allow the female to interact with more than one male, accommodating a more natural habitat for cassowary breeding.”
What’s the latest developments for the Nashville Zoo?
– “In July we will begin construction on a new Entry Village which will address our growth over the past decade. The new entrance will allow us to move more people into the Zoo quickly and easily. In July we will also break ground on a new Andean bear exhibit followed shortly by the groundbreaking of a spider monkey exhibit. These will likely open in 2015 or 2016 depending on construction.”
Are there any other events similar to Brew at the Zoo happening this year?
– “Sunset Safari is our annual fundraiser that takes place on September 4. It is also an after-hours event for adults only. There will be dozens of restaurants offering incredible food, several open bars and entertainment throughout the park. You can read more here.”
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
– Our website has a ton of information on the Zoo’s many offerings as well as our efforts in conservation.”