A St. Paul brewing company that uses a Central American nut in its beer production is partnering with conservationists to raise awareness about rainforest conservation efforts.

Dave Wilsey, director of University of Minnesota's Master of Development Practice program, partnered with Urban Growler Brewing Co. last year to use the Ramon nut to make beer.

The partnership created two beers which were made available last month. One has already sold out, but a stout with "notes of chocolate, coffee and nuts," is still available on tap.

The university's Institute on the Environment has given the partnership a mini-grant to help spread awareness of their conservation efforts, Minnesota Daily reported.

"This partnership will help people learn about opportunities that might exist in forest conservation and livelihood development," Wilsey said.

The protein-rich nut is native to Central America, South America and the Caribbean. It represents the Maya Forest, a region facing deforestation to make way for cattle grazing, Wilsey said.

Wilsey has researched the nut for nearly 20 years. He said he hopes to have a major company use the nut in a food product, which would create marketing opportunities that could increase the value of the rainforest and protect its resources.

"The fact that this nut could bring global change really intrigued me," said Jill Pavlak, Urban Growler co-owner. "The point of this is to bring awareness to this nut and to help sustainability in communities."

Pavlak said she tells the story behind the beer to everyone who purchases it.
"The beer is already good, but the story behind it makes people feel even better about ordering it," she said.