The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) had hoped to toast the 75th Anniversary of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge last December with a privately labeled pilsner beer in partnership with Fort Myers Brewing Company. However, aluminum shortages due to COVID-19 have pushed that brand unveiling to late 2021, in time to celebrate DDWS’ 40th anniversary. Profits from sales of Wild Daze Pilsner will benefit wildlife research, education, and conservation at the refuge.


“For the new year, we’re announcing a new beer,” said DDWS executive director Birgie Miller. “We have a lot to celebrate in 2021, and Wild Daze promises to add sparkle to the celebration. We thank Fort Myers Brewing Company for this spirited collaboration.”


JJ Taylor Companies will distribute canned Wild Daze Pilsner throughout Southwest Florida to restaurants, bars, and stores. The exclusive brew will be available with a limited window of around six months starting in late 2021.


The Wild Daze Committee has commissioned native Miami Latina artist Emily Alvarez to design an exclusive label for the canned beer.


“Having originated in a bustling city where fruit grows all year ‘round, I try to incorporate the abundance of energy and life I grew up surrounded by within my work; this manifests in dynamic composition, brilliant colors, and larger-than-life characters,” said artist Alvarez, who grew up near the Florida Everglades. “This beer label will be directly inspired by my experiences with South Florida wetlands.”


“Our goal is to expand ‘Ding’s’ appeal to a wider, young, multi-cultural audience in a fresh, new way,” said Miller. “Fort Myers Brewing staff share the refuge’s mission to get people outdoors.”


“Community involvement has always been important at Fort Myers Brewing,” said founder Rob Whyte. “This past year has proved how important getting out in nature can be for everyone’s mental and physical health, so when the ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Society reached out about this collaboration, it was an easy decision. Encouraging people to get outside, conserve our wild spaces, and enjoy a nice cold beverage as they do it, is a great opportunity. We are excited about supporting the J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge in this unique and special way.”


Anyone interested in serving on the Wild Daze Committee or looking for more information about the beer should contact DDWS development officer and project leader April Boehnen at 239-472-1100 ext. 4.



As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, DDWS works to support J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research, and public education through charitable donations and Refuge Nature Shop profits.


To support DDWS and the refuge with a tax-deductible gift, visit or contact Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or [email protected].