Ralph Sgro doesn't mind chatting about the digestive tracts of orangutans and sloths.

In fact, it's clear after spending a few moments with the co-founder and brewer at Terrestrial Brewing Co. that he's really into the inner workings of animal innards.

"They are doing all these experiments at the [Cleveland Metroparks] Zoo with changing the diets and trying to study how they affect their bodies in different ways," Sgro said. "They mentioned the orangutans are eating biscuits all the time and even though they are packed full of energy, the food in their stomach isn't fermenting into these short-chain fatty acids ... that are really good for them. They are trying to incorporate prebiotics into their food that will help produce these short-chain fatty acids."

Sgro is up to speed on the healthy eating habits of orangutans and sloths thanks to a new partnership between the Cleveland brewery and the Cleveland Zoological Society. Terrestrial and the nonprofit, which supports the zoo, are launching the "Conservation Series: Beer with a Conscience," a program that will help raise money for conservation efforts and research at the zoo.

The brewery will produce at least four exclusive beers — maybe more — throughout the year to support the Zoological Society, along with participating in the group's Tails & Cocktails discussions at the zoo. Ten percent of the beer sales will go to the society.

Probiotic Warrior — a kettle sour made with honey — will be released during a celebration from 5 to 11 p.m. Feb. 26 at the brewery. Other special beers will be made for Earth Day (April 21), World Giraffe Day (June 21) and World Gorilla Day (Sept. 24).

The relationship fits with the brewery's mission. Terrestrial means "of the earth."

"This goes in line with what we try to do here as a brewery with animals and the environment," co-founder Ryan Bennett said.

In case you forgot, the brewery partnered last year with the Splash Fund, an arm of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, to raise awareness and money for the endangered spotted turtle. Terrestrial also isn't the only Ohio brewery with a strong zoo relationship, as Listermann Brewing Co. has partnered and produced special beers for the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

Interim Cleveland Zoological Society Executive Director Sarah Crupi was on hand Friday (Feb. 8) at the brewery as the beer was being brewed and even dumped hops into the brew kettle.

"I'm excited about this because it's going to raise awareness of this very vital work to the general Cleveland population," she said. "And I"m excited that we found a partner where it fits with their mission, with their business. It's exciting just to talk to these guys about how the zoo is trying to help species in the wild and connection to those species that you can see at the zoo and conservation efforts that you can do in your own neighborhood. Ralph and Ryan really get that and support that."

The zoo is trying to talk more about its conservation efforts and hopes the Terrestrial relationship helps promote that cause to an expanded audience. The Zoological Society, which has been supporting the zoo since 1957, raises about $500,000 a year for conservation efforts, Crupi said.

Sgro and Bennett got a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo before producing the beer. Bennett called it an eye-opening experience to see how well the animals were treated and even trained.

"We're not doing this so people drink beer," Sgro said. "I really do want education to be a big part of this. I want people to drink the beer and really feel like they've accomplished something and be more motivated to help out."