There’s going to be an official beer and wine for the Shiawassee River, and the winners of a new contest will choose the names.
The Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition is hosting the contest as a fundraiser and to raise awareness about the ongoing effort to designate the Shiawassee River a National Water Trail.
Residents in Shiawassee County are invited to get in on the name game. For inspiration, here are some of the submissions so far: “Delish Coalish,” “Shia-nanigans,” “Twist About Ale,” “Hourglass 110” and “Shiawassee Shandy.”
“It’s fun,” said Tom Cook, a board member on the Friends of the Shiawassee River, a local Coalition member. “The mission of the Friends is to care and share and enjoy. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the Shiawassee River than coming up with the name for a libation.”
The beer and wine will be produced by Fenton Winery and Brewery. Owners Matt and Ginny Sherow are donating 10 percent of sales proceeds to the Coalition.
Cook said the Friends group is currently talking to a couple of local vendors about making the spirits available in the area after they are introduced June 24 during the annual RiverFest.
To enter names in the contest, post them on the Friends of the Shiawassee River Facebook page or create a post and add the hashtag #ShiawaseeBeer or #ShiawasseeWine. Contestants are encouraged to get as creative as they want, as long as the names aren’t offensive.
Four finalists in each category will be chosen by Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition members at their April 26 meeting.
Residents will choose the winners by voting online for their favorite names. To find out how to vote, check out Friends of the Shiawassee River on Facebook or Shiawasseeriver.org after April 26 for details. There will be a small fee for each vote, with proceeds going to the Coalition.
Winners will be announced May 30 on Facebook on the morning of Brew Day, a free event for Coalition members and anyone else to see the process of beer brewing. Brew Day runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fenton Winery and Brewery, 1370 N. Long Lake Road in Fenton.
The person who comes up with the winning name for the craft beer will receive a growler (a jug for transporting beer). The creator of the top wine name will win a bottle of wine.
“We’re doing a contest because we wanted to get the community involved and excited, and feel like a part of it — that’s what makes this organization what it is,” said Ginger Koester, executive director of the Friends of the Shiawassee River.
Another fundraiser, called “Paddle, Pizza, and Pints,” starts at noon Aug. 19 in Waterworks Park in Holly. Participants will paddle down the Shiawassee River to Strom Park in Fenton.
Afterward, about 3:30 p.m., the group will visit Fenton Winery and Brewery for a fundraiser.
The Coalition is composed of 19 partner organizations located along the 80 miles of the Shiawassee River that winds through Oakland, Genesee, Shiawassee and Saginaw counties, from Holly to Chesaning. Sarah Baker, program coordinator for the Friends of the Shiawassee River, is the facilitator for the Coalition.
The group’s stated mission is to improve and promote public use of the water trail as a valuable resource for non-motorized recreation and tourism, and to support and enhance river conservation and
In April 2017, the Coalition applied to have the Shiawassee River named a National Water Trail by the U.S. National Park Service. The application is currently under review. The next step is official approval by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
“We’re seeking the national designation because it affirms how important the Shiawassee River is in the watershed,” Cook said. “It also promotes the river as a recreational resource, which helps bring businesses to the community.
“What it’s all about is celebrating the river, the environmental resource, that is the Shiawassee.”