(Update 8/30/21: Canned Rain Crow IPA and limited edition Rain Crow pint glasses are now available at Borderlands Brewing Company! The brew is available on tap at Voltron Brewing and Crooked Tooth Brewing Company, and a limited quantity of glasses are available online here. Phoenix availability TBD.)
The story of the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo and the story of water in the west are one in the same. Many of the factors that led to this species’ listing as threatened in 2014 are the same that are forcing us to look much more closely at our own water resources – overallocation, decades of drought, and the realities of climate change. Without action, the future of the cuckoo and the livability of the Southwest are both in question, but how do you get you get people to step up to protect a bird they may never see?
The trick is, they don’t have to take action for cuckoos. They just have to take action. It doesn’t matter what motivates them. It could be cuckoos, but maybe it’s concern over irrigating their farm. Maybe it’s protecting water supplies for their home in Phoenix, or maybe it’s expanding water access to the many communities in the Southwest still lacking reliable water. It’s important to remember that no one is rooting for a future with inadequate, unreliable water supplies. We’re all in this together.
For members of Audubon Southwest’s Western Rivers Brewers’ Council, the motivation comes from the fact that if there is no water, there is no beer. That’s why we team up with Borderlands, Wren House, and Crooked Tooth brewing companies every August to brew Rain Crow IPA. First brewed in 2018, this annual collaboration celebrates the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo and encourages all who enjoy it to sign up for Audubon’s Western Rivers Action Network, the one-stop-shop for taking action to protect rivers and water in the West.
Brewers know that an adequate and reliable water supply is critical to their craft and Audubon members know that it is critical to healthy rivers, habitats, birds, and other wildlife. By taking action together, we can help protect rivers and all they support throughout the Southwest. In just the past year, our network of advocates helped finalize the designation of over 300,000 acres of critical habitat for the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo, secured $50 million in funding dedicated to the protection of water and the environment in Arizona, and helped pass the Environmental Database Act in New Mexico.
So, no matter what it is that motivates you, we hope that you’ll raise a glass with us for the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo, western rivers, and this year’s victories. There’s still much work ahead, so be sure to sign up for the Western Rivers Action Network when you’re done!