By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 21, 2023 at 12:27 PM

Component Brewing in Bay View is seeking breweries to join forces on a collaboration beer using Zebra hops to help raise awareness of rare diseases and funds to battle them.

The collab is the latest in a series of similarly good-hearted projects at Component, including this, this and this.

Instead of me telling you about it, I'm going to let Component's Jonathan Kowalske explain it better, in a letter he's sharing with other brewers.

Zebra hopsX

Subject: Will You Brew for Rare Diseases With Me?


My name is Jonathan Kowalske and I am the owner of Component Brewing in Milwaukee. I am working with the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) to launch a nationwide beer collaboration, Zebra Hop, to raise awareness and money for the nearly 30 million Americans – one in 10 of us – living with rare diseases; more than 50 percent of whom are children.

My son Mac is one of those children who was diagnosed with a rare disease that only affects 300 people worldwide. Rare diseases like Mac’s are life-long and life-threatening chronic conditions that can cause physical and intellectual disabilities, among other significant symptoms. Due to their rarity, they are hard to diagnose and lack necessary funding and as a result treatments and cures for our loved ones.

With a target release date of Rare Disease Day 2024 (Feb. 29, the rarest of days), I am reaching out to invite you and other breweries across the country to come together to create a unique and delicious beer that will ignite conversations about rare diseases while raising money for this important cause. I hope your brewery will join us in the Zebra Hop collaboration this year!

I know everyone is working on their brew schedules for the end of 2023 / early 2024 so I am reaching out to provide advanced lead time to ensure that everyone can participate.

To sign up as a participating brewery please contact me at Our website,, will be launching soon for this campaign.

On behalf of Component Brewery, NORD, and the 30 million Americans living with rare diseases across the country, I thank you for your consideraHon and support.

Please consider participating – your support can make a difference and provide hope for my son and the 15 million kids like him living with a rare disease.

Thank you,

Here’s a link to my son Mac’s story with Malan Syndrome.

The Zebra Hop release party is set for Thursday, Feb. 29 at 4 p.m. with live music and a food truck kicking off at 5.  Mac will be there along with special education staff from his school district and the genetics team from the Medical College of Wisconsin.

See a list of participating breweries here.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.