Great River Brewery launches River Rat Root Beer in honor of Chad Pregracke

Living Lands & Waters’ President and Founder Chad Pregracke behind the bar in the brew-pub of the Great River Brewery in Davenport, Iowa, for the Jan. 18 premiere of River Rat Root Beer. Pregracke is pictured on the front of the root beer can, poling a skiff to clean up the Mississippi. Pregracke has been featured in Field and Stream magazine, Time magazine, National Geographic, LIFE magazine, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, PBS, NPR and the Sundance Channel and honored with many environmental awards. River Rat Root Beer will contribute part of its sales to Living Lands & Waters to further its environmental mission, like its Million Trees Project. Visit Pregracke also serves on the Rock River Trail Initiative Council, representing Rock Island County. (Photo by Frank Schier)

Staff Report

DAVENPORT, Iowa Great River Brewery, where legendary craft brews are made, has come up with a new product, River Rat Root Beer, and this one has gained its legendary status almost instantly. It is named in honor of environmentalist Chad Pregracke, founder and president of Living Lands & Waters and recipient of countless awards. The product was unveiled to the public in a tapping celebration Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 5 p.m. at the Great River Brewery, 332 E. Second St., Davenport, Iowa.

The Rock River Times Editor & Publisher Frank Schier, who was at the premiere, said: “What a great root beer! It’s really rich, full and foamy. I can’t wait to make a root beer float with it. The staff at the paper said it was the best they’ve ever tasted! I agree.

It tastes even better because our friend Chad is on the can, and his tremendous organization, Living Lands & Waters, is a beneficiary of the sales of the sudsy stuff,” Schier said. “I’ve joked for years, ‘I’m a river rat,’ and Chad is now part of the good branding of the best that phrase means, taste-wise and environmentally, too. He’s also kind enough to be on the Rock River Trail Initiative Council for Rock Island County, and he’ll give us another 10,000 oak trees to distribute for free up the 11 counties of the course of the Rock River.

Chad’s great, and so is this root beer. You should meet all the nice folks who brew it, like Head Brewer Scott Lehnert. Their brew pub is charming and attached to their brewing facility. Stop in and see it; it’s only two hours from Rockford,” said Schier

In announcing the new product, River Rat Root Beer, GRB Brewmaster Paul Krutzfeldt was quick to praise Pregracke. “I’m a recent transplant to the Quad Cities, but even in my landlocked former home in Iowa, I’d heard of him and the work he was doing. It’s impressive. When we opened the brewery here, and Chad became a fan, we’re more than excited to partner with a celebrity,” Krutzfeldt said.

Pregracke, who has been honored by presidents and was chosen by Mitchum as “The Hardest Working Man in America,” couldn’t be more thrilled.

When the idea for the River Rat Root Beer was first presented to me, I thought it was a fantastic idea … and an honor all in one,” Pregracke said. “There are so many people who have, and continue to do great things for the Mississippi River. The Root Beer tastes awesome and promotes a great cause. I just want to thank GRB for choosing me to highlight this fine product.”

Living Lands & Waters’ President and Founder Chad Pregracke

The product concept and package design was the work of longtime Quad Cities marketing strategist Larry McDonald.

Great River Brewery gave me a blank sheet of paper with this product, but I know that the brewery is very supportive of worthy causes,” McDonald said. “Living Lands & Waters naturally came to mind. After I roughed out a series of concepts, the idea of making a younger Chad the star of the package kept coming to the top. After all, he’s a heck of a role model, and young people are known to drink root beer. I’m really glad that Paul chose a formulation that lives up to the standard.”

River Rat Root Beer is made with 100 percent pure cane sugar using a traditional recipe. It is packaged in 16-ounce can four-packs and will be available in Quad Cities grocery stores within days. Great River Brewery products are directly distributed through a seven-state area.

Krutzfeldt told The Rock River Times LRB Distributing could handle the product all the way up to the Oregon, Ill., area, and plans to get talks under way with LaMonica Beverage for the rights for the Rockford and northen Illinois area.

For more information, contact Krutzfeldt, Great River Brewery, (563) 323-5210; Madeline Luloff, Living Lands & Waters, (309) 496-9848; or McDonald, (309) 526-8115.

Calling all river rats!” said Schier. “Buy a couple cases. I did, and we’ll serve it at the next Rock River Trail Initative Council meeting at Vision Beloit, Feb. 5. River Rat Root Beer supports a great cause — a cleaner Mississippi River and more — go to It’s fun and good for everybody!”

From the Jan. 25-31, 2012, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!