Brewery aims to help can the spread of invasive species

  • Updated: July 11, 2012 - 9:38 PM

Drink a beer, save a lake.

That's the catchy concept behind a new company started by three longtime friends and Lake Minnetonka residents, tapping into their passion for beer and keeping Minnesota's lakes free of invasive species.

Jason Landstrom, Ryan Johnson and Chad Mayes in May launched the Tonka Beer Company in Excelsior, and hope to brew up $10,000 this year to aid efforts slowing the spread of zebra mussels and other species.

As avid anglers, boaters and wilderness canoers, the partners have had invasive species "on the forefront of our minds," Mayes said. Their new enterprise, he said, is a way of "pairing our interests with the beer industry and the lakes."

He said they'll funnel 100 percent of their profits into a nonprofit arm, Save Our Lakes. No benefactor has yet been named, but they hope to fund invasive species prevention efforts by partnering with an agency or conservation district.

Brewed in Wisconsin, the company's Big Island Shandy already has been distributed to 150 stores and restaurants statewide. A second beer, Preservation IPA, is slated to roll out in August.

KELLY SMITH

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