Researchers focusing on conservation and species restoration have to be fairly tenacious, and our biologist Jaret Daniels is no exception. Hurricane Ian required us to reschedule the launch of a new beer aimed at restoring habitat for migrating monarch butterflies. Originally intended for Sept. 30, the event was bumped to Oct. 15 and was well attended by beer and butterfly enthusiasts!

Jaret Daniels, in a green museum shirt, shows a visitor a plastic cup containing leaves and a butterfly specimen
Jaret Daniels shows a visitor one of the butterflies on display during the event. Florida Museum photo by Jeff Gage

Jaret’s ongoing efforts to call attention to at-risk butterflies has included a long-time partnership with local brewers at First Magnitude Brewery. Inviting the public into the casual brewery atmosphere with the lure of an interesting new brew has helped open up many conversations about imperiled species and the habitat they rely on. The Daniels Lab get to highlight a butterfly they’re working to support by bringing live caterpillars and butterflies, and their host plants, and introducing these little creatures to curious guest.

This newest campaign, Restore the Reign of the Monarch, puts the spotlight on Monarch butterflies through a collaboration among conservation and education organizations, as well as the brewing community and their patrons.

The Butterflies

Monarch butterflies are in serious trouble. Across eastern North America, migrating populations have plummeted more than 80% over the past two decades. News in the West is even worse, with population numbers down to less than 1% of their historic size. To counteract these declines, researcher and conservationists want to rebuild monarch breeding habitats to save these iconic butterflies.

Monarchs face a number of challenges, including agricultural pesticides, widespread habitat loss and climate change. Florida Museum photo by Kristen Grace

The Beer

The newest beer is Reign Imperial Stout, brewed to highlight the monarch butterflies.  Rich malt and bittersweet chocolate flavors dominate this big imperial stout. Notes of toffee, raisins, and oatmeal cookies are present as well, with a pleasant and mildly herbal hop finish. The beer is available in cans and on tap, and custom tulip beer glasses were available for sale with the pretty logo on the side.

25% of sales of Reign will be used for monarch habitat restoration work, facilitated by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

We are so grateful to our local community who continue to support our hard-working scientists and students. Like the saying goes, we cannot know how impactful a small event will be in the big picture. We can only keep working towards a shared goal of returning the balance of our global biodiversity.


Learn more about at-risk butterfly conservation work in our Daniels Lab.

Explore our guide to Florida’s 50 most common native wildflowers and butterflies.

Read: A kaleidoscope of monarchs: Marveling at one of nature’s greatest journeys