small brown butterfly on plant
The team netted the tiny butterflies, gently swabbed them for yeast and released them back into the wild. Florida Museum photo by Jeff Gage

The tiny brown frosted elfin butterfly might seem small and unimportant, but this at-risk species contributed to its own conservation by helping make a beer! In our ongoing partnership with First Magnitude Brewery, we collaborated on a new beer with a surprising ingredient—wild yeast carefully collected off these butterflies.

On May 17, 2019, we cohosted an event at the First Magnitude Brewery to launch the new special brew called Frosted Elfin New England-Style Session Pale Ale. On May 25, we hosted a fundraiser at The Brass Tap in Tallahassee to further call attention to this at-risk species.

The frosted elfin’s survival depends on the integrity and management of pine barren, oak savannah, and upland pine and sandhill habitats throughout the eastern U.S., which support its wild indigo and lupine host plants.

This is the seventh beer created in the ongoing collaboration between The Daniels Lab at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity and First Magnitude. The proceeds from these beers benefit butterfly conservation and research in Florida.