Wild Card Brewery has collaborated with Fulmar Illustration to celebrate the diversity of wildlife on its own doorstep.

Wild Card Fulmar
Photograph: Wild Card Brewery

After a year of travel and lockdown restrictions, Wild Card Brewery is drawing inspiration from the nearby urban wild on its very own doorstep: the Walthamstow Wetlands. 

The Walthamstow brewery has collaborated with North London-based Deiniol Owen, of Fulmar Illustration, to celebrate the diversity of the Wetlands’ birdlife in four illustrated beer releases. These beers mark the first in a new series celebrating the local area and culture of Waltham Forest.

Andrew Birkby, co-founder of Wild Card Brewery, said: “Following a year in which so many of us have spent time exploring nature on our doorstep, it’s great to shine a light on the hidden wealth of wildlife in the wetlands. The idea that these rare and interesting species are thriving in one of the most densely populated areas of Europe is fascinating to us.”

Each label depicts a winged visitor flourishing in the marches. A grey heron, grappling with fish in front of the Wetlands’ water tower. A pair of great crested grebes, gifting weeds to one another during an elaborate mating dance. The majestic peregrine falcon, perched atop the pylons visible across the marches. And a parakeet, whose bright-green colonies make great prey for the falcons hunting across the site.

Deiniol Owen, of Fulmar Illustration, said: “I wanted to emphasise the relationship between nature and the urban environment. How, despite the fact that industry is rapidly taking over natural spaces, with a little help from conservation, nature and wildlife can thrive even in a large city like London.”

The wetlands are internationally recognised in their importance for migrating birds, and are home to London’s largest heron colony, while peregrine falcon colonies are known to breed and use the surrounding areas as hunting grounds.

Europe’s largest urban wetlands opened to the public in 2017, following an extensive investment project. The 211-hectare site comprises ten reservoirs that provide drinking water for millions of London residents, and the grounds host thousands of visitors each year.

The four beers launched this week can be purchased online from Wild Card’s online shop and in other selected outlets.