August 27, 2019 Calgary Zoo

Koozing up with Moosehead Breweries

Canada’s oldest independent brewery is teaming up with the Calgary Zoo to keep our birds healthy… and stylish!

Beer koozie: Summer BBQ staple? Maybe. Animal Health Centre necessity? Absolutely. When you think of beer cozies, hot summer days spent relaxing on the beach probably come to mind but, for the Calgary Zoo’s Veterinary team, these small pieces of durable fabric offer a whole different world of possibilities.

Caring for animals has some unique challenges, especially when it comes to health care. From giraffes to Egyptian tortoises, the plethora of animal shapes and sizes at the Calgary Zoo aren’t conducive to standard medical equipment. At times, our Veterinary Team has to get pretty creative.

When the zoo’s late gentoo penguin Akemi first injured her foot in 2012, it resulted in pressure sores and a bacterial infection. After the penguin boots ordered to help the gentoo’s foot heal ended up being too big for her, the Vet Team came up with a different solution: re-purposing beer koozies into premium footwear for the injured bird.

This solution wasn’t just adorable – although the sight of a penguin wearing something resembling slippers is sure to warm your heart – it was practical too. The soft yet durable material fit perfectly to her feet, almost as if it was made for that purpose.


“The make-shift boots alleviated soreness in her feet while keeping the infected area clean and giving her the chance to heal,” says Dr. Malu Celli, Curator at the zoo. “The improved mobility even helped Akemi lose the extra weight she had gained following her injury.”

Unlike in the wild, common injuries like these can be cared for and treated at the Calgary Zoo, often adding years to and improving the quality of many animals’ lives. Since the zoo’s successful introduction of beer koozie footwear with Akemi, similar injuries are often treated the same way. Birds typically wear through the koozies in a week or so but, thanks to Moosehead Breweries, we don’t have to worry about running out.

Moosehead Breweries is proud to partner with the Calgary Zoo for the next five years to support this animal care initiative by providing beer cozies for all penguins and flamingos. Together, Moosehead Breweries and the Calgary Zoo are working to fight extinction of wildlife worldwide.

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