Phillips Brewing & Malting Co., a Canadian craft beer outfit located just across the border in Vancouver, British Columbia, is not known for it’s traditional style. Their beers are renegade, with styles and flavors such as a dark sour grape ale called Sax in the Dark, to an ale brewed with fresh-cut fir tree boughs called Sky High. So when it was time to whip up a classic pilsner, the brewery decided to debut it in a revolutionary way: delivering it by bald eagle.
“For us to brew a traditional, aged, classic-style pilsner is very non-traditional — so we are releasing it in an old school way that is pretty surprising,” says Matt Phillips, founder of Phillips Brewing and Malting Co. “What’s more old-school than carrier pigeon deliveries? But a pigeon can’t carry beer, so an eagle seemed more practical to carry the load.”
Phillips says that in an age of robotic technology, his Beer From a Bird service is a reaction to modern culture where it seems “normal” for Amazon to deliver packages via drone. After hatching his plan to deliver his new beer via a majestic bird of prey, Phillips paired with the Pacific Northwest Raptor Center to find the right eagle for the delivery. They introduced him to Hercules, a four-year-old bald eagle that has been filmed for a National Geographic special and nature shows, and spends his downtime chasing geese off the runways at Victoria International Airport so that aircraft can land safely. “He’s an incredibly well-trained working bird,” says Phillips. “Before we found him, we tried to teach a beaver how to make the deliveries but it just didn’t go too well.”
Hercules will be delivering the to-be-released pilsner on June 5 to one lucky contest winner (enter here). “It’s just a fun thing we’re trying to do,” Phillips says. “It’s not meant to be too serious, but it is pretty cool to have this interaction with such an incredible bird.”
Watch Hercules train for his beer drop-off below.