Sasha’s Sibling?

     I’m not sure how many of you remember the Hamm’s Beer bear.  I am pretty sure the cartoon version of the bear came out in commercials first and then they began using a real bear.  One of the real bears used in the commercials was named Sasha.  She spent quite a bit of time at the end of the Gunflint Trail staying at Chik-Wauk Lodge(future home of the museum and nature center opening in 2010).  Sasha no doubt enjoyed her beer and perhaps is a distant relative to a bear in Wisconsin who also likes his beer.

FOX 21 Exclusive: Video of bear caught in beer cooler


By Beth Jett and photojournalist John Thain, FOX 21 News


HAYWARD – FOX 21 has tracked down new details and the rest of the story of a black bear that ran into a Hayward grocery store and hid in the beer cooler.

FOX 21 exclusively obtained the surveillance video of how it all played out, which is something the store is capitalizing on.

"He just knew where to go," laughed one woman outside the Marketplace Foods Store. "Knew where to go to have a beer."  That’s just one of many jokes coming out of the most exciting thing to happen in Hayward lately.  Shoppers can see the pictures of what happened on the marquis outside the store.

"There it is," said shopper Terry Fairclough, looking at the pictures on the electric sign. "Unbearable!"   Another caption reads, ‘Stock up for all your hibernation needs.’

"I’m stocking my hibernation needs," Fairclough laughed.

It all comes after an unlikely shopper strolled into the store last Thursday night around 8:15.  He went right past the apples and hot chicken and straight into the liquor store.

"We had to evacuate all the customers out of here which was pretty hard because everybody wanted to see the bear in the liquor store," said Amy Johansen, the store’s bookkeeper.  She had to call the store manager at home to tell him what was going on.

"I’m telling him, you’re not gonna believe this, but there’s a bear in the store," Johansen recalled.

"I remember saying, ‘Do what?,’ said store manager Jon LeBlanc.

Johansen explained, "It took me five minutes to convince him that there was a bear in the store."

"Would you believe someone telling you that? No," said LeBlanc, defending why he thought it was all a joke at first.  Even the clerk in the liquor store wasn’t aware of who had sauntered in.

"When the bear crossed the doorbell and it went off, the cashier thought it was another customer until he came around the corner and ran into it," said Johansen.  "He said the first thing that crossed his mind was ‘I’m not checking that thing’s ID’.

Meanwhile, LeBlanc and four law enforcement agencies rushed to the scene, not sure what they would find.

 "The first thing I thought of was how much damage could be done?" said LeBlanc.  He was pleasantly surprised.  The bear, thought to be a male yearling, about 125 pounds, walked right past the imports and blackberry brandy and didn’t touch a thing.  That was until he got to the walk–in beer cooler.

"His paws must have hit the cooler door and the cooler door went open," said LeBlanc demonstrating.  "Then he went in."  He said the bear mosied around the 34–degree cooler until he found a shelf about 10 feet up and that’s where Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Agents found him.

"The animal was sitting peacefully in the back of the beer cooler," said Matt McKay, a DNR agent called to the scene.  The bear was eventually tranquilized, and safely carried out of the cooler.  As it turned out, the bear was taken to the local DNR office in Hayward where it spent the night. Then, first thing Friday morning, it was released into the wild totally unharmed.

"He looked healthy and he just was glad to be outta that situation, I’m sure," said McKay.  Store employees were relieved at the outcome.  "This bear didn’t do anything wrong," said LeBlanc.  "It was a great ending. Nobody was hurt. No damage was done.

Authorities said the bear came into Hayward earlier that day and climbed a tree, where authorities monitored him until dark.  They say that’s when he came down and some children chased him into the store’s parking lot.

And, by the way, no–the bear did not drink any beer.

Check out the video!