Helping Save Dormice with a Special Brew!

Monday 20th November 2017

Saving dormice with a special brew!Saving dormice with a special brew!

An exciting new ale with a ‘nutty biscuit’ flavour is being brewed in Surrey – and drinking it may help conserve one of Surrey’s best loved mammals. ‘Dormouse Beer’ will soon be available in pubs across the county and sales will help Surrey Wildlife Trust protect the threatened hazel dormouse species.



The wild beer idea from the Tillingbourne Brewery comes as the Trust starts a new dormouse monitoring project in the woodlands it manages. The Woodlands For Dormice scheme will recruit volunteers to survey and monitor nest boxes, working with the Surrey Dormouse Group, who will then report back with their findings.

The Trust’s Living Woodland Advisor Rob Davies, who’s heading up the initiative, said: “With its large eyes and fluffy tail, the hazel dormouse is one of our most endearing mammals. But research shows that sadly numbers across the UK have declined in recent years as a result of habitat loss and lack of woodland management.

“Dormice are already extinct in many areas of the UK and while we believe we have good populations here in Surrey, we need to provide evidence for this and improve our understanding of how effective our woodland management is in improving habitat.” 

The new ‘Dormouse Beer’ is a traditional ale, brewed by the Tillingbourne Brewery, based in Shere near Guildford. Five pence from every pint sold will go directly to the Woodlands For Dormice project. The new beer was officially launched at the Dorking Winter Beer Festival at Dorking Halls on Friday 24 November.

Lee Nicholls who founded the business six years ago with an old school friend Stephen Dodd, said: “After starting the brewery, we were curious as to why conservation volunteers gathered every month or so to go off into the woods behind us!

“When we learned that one of Surrey's largest population of endangered dormice were right here on our doorstep, behind our brewery well, we liked the idea of trying to help them – so Dormouse Beer was born. The beer has a dark hazelnut colour, with a subtle biscuit, nut taste and it will be ready for delivery to pubs in mid November.”

The Woodlands For Dormice project has been kick started with a fantastic £9,050 grant from The Banister Charitable Trust, which will enable the team to set up 400 new dormouse nest boxes at selected sites across the county.

The Trust aims to monitor the dormouse population at these new sites, working with volunteers alongside the Surrey Dormouse Group. Data collected will then be used to plan habitat management, such as coppicing of hazel woodland, which is thought to be beneficial to dormice.

“This is all such exciting news for the future of dormice in Surrey,” added Rob. “Dormice need properly managed woodlands and hedgerows to live and thrive. The Woodlands For Dormice project will help us provide evidence of the effectiveness of our work, so we can manage our woodlands better to support dormice populations. 

“We must stress that no animals were harmed in the making of Dormouse Beer and we’d like to remind everyone to drink responsibly - cheers!”

You can help dormice and other wildlife on your doorstep by signing up as a Surrey Wildlife Trust volunteer. To find out how you can get involved with nature conservation in your area click here >>

Tagged with: Business, Fundraising, Living Landscapes, Species, Volunteering