Buy a Rhino, Save a Rhino

Beer Promotes Rhino Conservation

Rhino Chasers, a new environmentally conscious brew, is quenching the thirsts of beer lovers across the country while raising money for the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).

An agreement between the brewer and AWF is sending 51 percent of the beer maker’s profits to the organization for its efforts to protect African wildlife.

rhino conservation Africa

The idea started when Scott Griffiths, president of a Los Angeles-based advertising agency, entered his firm in the city’s Advertising Softball League. He named the team Rhino Chasers after a group of tough surfers who chased down huge waves in Hawaii.

Griffiths had a Rhino Chasers logo designed for the team. Soon after, the logo was transformed into a beer label and placed on bottles of imported Mexican beer for team members to enjoy.

The concept of a full-fledged beer eventually blossomed. Griffiths formed a new company, called William & Scott, and a portion of a local micro-brewery was purchased to produce the beer. At first, however, the name caused some confusion.

“Some customers said, ‘What are you doing, urging people to attack an endangered species? It sounds like you guys are rhino bashers,'” explained Michael Riley, president of William & Scott. “Of course, that wasn’t our intention at all. So we contacted the African Wildlife Foundation and the more we learned, the more we liked it.”

“The name ‘Rhino Chasers’ comes from an old surfing term,” said Griffiths. “But instead of trying to sell the world another macho beer full of sports images, we wanted to find a way to contribute something valuable to the planet, which is what enjoying the outdoors is really about anyway.”

To date, several thousand dollars have been donated to the AWF — although the beer company has yet to make a profit, Riley said. The company now ships 4,000 cases of beer a month to its various distributors.

The AWF has been assisting African governments in their struggle to conserve natural resources for nearly 30 years. AWF projects include the purchase of equipment for anti-poaching patrols, a scholarship program for African students at a Tanzanian wildlife college, and coordination of the Elephant Awareness Campaign, aimed at slashing the demand for ivory.

“We’re very grateful that Mr. Griffiths chose to work with us,” said Diana McMeekin, AWF vice president. “Whether they learn it from billboards or beer bottles, the public needs to know what’s happening to the wildlife of Africa. The only way change can come about is through increased public awareness.”

One of the company’s ads is a parody of a traditional beer advertisement. Its slogan is “Tastes Great, Less Killing,” and features a close-up of a rhinoceros.

“Some folks have complained about our product being alcoholic, but our view is that beer is a part of the American culture,” Riley said. “We’re all for temperate enjoyment of alcohol — along with giving people the additional plus of doing a good thing while they’re at it.”

Earth Fact: Due to poaching, Africa’s black rhino population has dropped from 65,000 just 20 years ago to only 3,500 today.

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