Rare Disease Beer
Ever since it’s discovery, the intoxicating properties of beer have always been associated with health benefits in some way or another. And whilst it may at first seem counterintuitive, there is in fact a lot of truth behind these beliefs; perhaps more so than you could have imagined.
Beer is chock full of beneficial nutrients such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, that are great for the heart, bones, kidney, brain and our immune system. This provides a number of health benefits that you wouldn’t immediately guess, especially when considering the most obvious affect the drink has on us. Below is a list of just some of the health benefits you can get from sipping your favourite hoppy brew.
Loved by millions, one man saw an opportunity to leverage this popularity so beer could bring attention to the plight of many who’s suffering often goes unnoticed by many; and what exactly is that cause? To raise awareness surrounding rare diseases; diseases that, collectively, are not all that rare.
Medical Benefits of Drinking Beers
Sharpen cognitive function thanks to antioxidants, which repair and protect brain cells from damage.
Improve mental health by relieving stress and anxiety and helping to treat depression.
Aid digestion by improving gut microbiome and boosting microbial diversity.
Lowers the risk of diabetes due to antioxidants and minerals like magnesium that can aid insulin sensitivity.
Brewed for Charity
With its beloved intoxicating properties and a variety of health benefits, Jonathan Kowalske, founder and owner of Component Brewing, decided that the drink loved by millions might also be able to raise awareness on little-known but surprisingly common health issues. Kowalske’s 6-year-old son Mac was born with Malan syndrome, a condition characterized by overgrowth in height and head size at an early age, weak muscles, speech and motor delay, as well as intellectual disabilities and brain abnormalities.
The Milwaukee brewer soon decided to create a beer with the goal of raising awareness regarding this rare condition, and in 2018, the company launched its first brew, a double IPA crafted to support the benefit of his son’s cause. The beer was called Fancy Genes, based on Kowalski’s son’s specific disease. However, he noted that creating something that only means something to around 200 people in the world isn’t the best way to get the word out there.
Rebranding for rare disease
Instead, the beer will undergo a rebranding to receive a name that’s not only means a lot to all those suffering from rare diseases but will also raise awareness and bring to light the fact that, on their own, rare diseases may indeed be uncommon but collectively, there are a large number of people suffering from these unique conditions.
This collaborative beer uses advanced brewing products and techniques to represent the advances in medicine happening now and in the future to find cures for rare diseases.
The beer has recently been renamed to “Zebra Hop”, and will be relaunched on Rare Disease Day, Feb. 29, 2024, Kowalski explained:
“The 29th of February is the rarest of days, and 2024 is a leap year,”
The zebra is used in a metaphor that describes the nature of rare diseases by relating the unique characteristics of the striped animal with the common appearance of the horse.
“When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras. When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra.”
Dr. Woodward used this metaphor to teach the diagnosis of diseases. The zebra represents rare for awareness, and to teach that rare disorders are actually more common than you might think, at least 1 in 10 people live with a rare disorder, of which there are least 7,000 documented, and no doubt more to be documented in the future.
Boasting popular intoxicating properties and a list of health benefits, it seems oddly fitting that beer would also be utilized to help raise awareness of rare diseases. Now, thanks to Jonathan Kowalske, not only will many more people know about all types of rare diseases, they’ll also be able to raise a drink in support