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Undoubtedly, experiencing the sweet nectar that is Flying Panda can be quite the euphoric experience. You’re probably asking yourself, “How in the world do you cram all that flavor and mouth-watering freshness into this slender can?” We know it’s bewildering, but no matter how much you might want to believe that it’s magic, it’s not! Flying Panda is a genius concoction mixed up by the marvelous Michelle Porter. Those juicy cocktails are the culmination of a microbiology degree from the University of Tennessee and multiple years serving as a mixologist (that’s code for a fancy bartender). Michelle’s passion for vibrant cocktails and lifelong love for animals inspired her to create Flying Panda to enable her creations to give back to our wonderful planet and all its beautiful inhabitants. Flying Panda’s mission is synonymous with Michelle’s, which is why every can benefits and supports an endangered species.

Despite how it might seem, Michelle is a human, just like the rest of us (if you’re not human, we’d love to speak to you). That means that she’s just as quirky and complex as you, but she just happens to be the CEO of an up and coming alcohol company (she’s a total badass, we know). We decided to sit down with Michelle and ask her some questions about her life and her passions to understand what makes her tick, and what makes her, well...The Marvelous Michelle Porter!

Q: “I never like to start off on a serious note, so tell me your favorite joke.”

A: “Why shouldn’t you trust atoms? Because they make up everything… I guess that’s why I’m not a comedian.”

Q: “You made me chuckle, so that’s at least something, right? If you never saw yourself as a comedian, what did you want to be growing up?”

A: “When I was really young I always wanted to be a veterinarian. I spent some time interning at a local vet’s office and realized pretty quickly that I didn’t have thick enough skin for dealing with sick animals.”

Q: “What inspired you to take care of animals?”

A: “I’ve always been that crazy animal lover, ever since I was just a little kid. For my birthday, I used to ask my parents if I could foster puppies from the animal shelter. I took several trips out to a huge no-kill rescue called Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah when I was younger. I was absolutely blown away by what they were doing to help homeless pets. It’s heartbreaking to me how often animals are mistreated and misunderstood. My love for animals is just a part of me, so it felt natural to use my business as a tool for helping them.”

Q: “Besides business and animals, what’s your greatest passion?”

A: “I would probably say it’s science. I’m obsessed with learning and would usually rather read a textbook than a novel. I’m especially fascinated by the microscopic world.”

Q: “Is reading textbooks your favorite hobby?”

A: “No, I’d say my favorite hobby is hanging out with my doggos and listening to music. In a perfect world, I’m listening to vinyl on an old set of speakers. I also enjoy cooking and pretty much anything to do with the outdoors.”

Q: “Who’s your favorite musical artist/band?”

A: “As cliché as it sounds, I’d have to say The Beatles. I go through different phases every week in terms of what I like to listen to, but if I had to pick one all-time favorite band, it would have to be The Beatles.”

Q: “It seems that you really like music, do you have a favorite album?”

A: “Yeah! While The Beatles might be my favorite band, my favorite album from top to bottom would have to be Pink Floyd: The Wall.”

Q: “That’s a great one, you definitely have an ear for good music! Do you play any instruments?”

A: “Of course! I grew up playing bluegrass music with my dad on the mandolin. I played quite a bit of guitar during high school, which made me actually start out my career at the University of Tennessee as a studio guitar student with a blues/jazz focus. I played in several bands throughout and after college. We played lots of folk, electronic, and everything between. Playing music will always be a part of my life in some form or fashion."

Q: “Music is transcendent, I love how it breaks down barriers and unites people. Do you like any other art forms, like movies or books?"

A: “Absolutely! My taste in movies changes with my mood, but my favorite filmmaker is hands down Quentin Tarantino. I do have a favorite book, though. It’s a childhood favorite called Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein."

Q: “Quentin Tarantino is probably my favorite filmmaker, too! Oh, this next question is always interesting. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done, and would you do it again?”

A: “I sailed 48 hours down to the Florida Keys with some other college students. We were on a small boat with zero service in the middle of the ocean. I would absolutely do it again in a heartbeat.”

Q: “If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would you want to talk to?"

A: “That’s easy, it would have to be Albert Einstein. I love his perspectives on intelligence and imagination.”

Q: “I figured you’d want to talk to a scientist! Speaking of science, do you believe in aliens?”

A: “Oh yeah.”

Q: “ At this point I'm pretty sure you're one of them... It sure would explain a lot! Who is your biggest inspiration?”

A: “My biggest inspiration is my mom. She’s kind and compassionate, but also strong-willed and intelligent. She leads people in a way that makes them want to be a part of what she’s doing, and she always focuses on solutions rather than problems.”

Q: “How would you inspire other women to pursue entrepreneurship?”

A: “Embrace skepticism, and ignore labels! As females, we often tend to weigh the words and opinions of others a lot more heavily than we should. Learn to take criticism and skepticism and use it to shape your business and perfect your idea or product. Never let someone tell you that you can’t do something because of your gender, it’s 2020… ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Q: “Did you doubt yourself at any point in your journey?”

A: “Sure! When you’re learning to do a new thing, there will always be some level of self-doubt, but that voice is a lot quieter than the one that keeps me moving forward.”

Q: “What specific characteristics do you possess that you feel have propelled you to where you are now?”

A: “I’m extremely stubborn, which helped me get over all the people who told me that Flying Panda was a bad idea, or that getting a beverage product to the shelves was close to impossible. I work best under pressure, so the stress of the business usually motivates me to work harder. I like to think outside the box, which is probably a characteristic of most entrepreneurs.”

Q: “What’s your biggest fear?”

A: “Missing my purpose in life, or not doing the things that I am meant to do. Also...clowns.”

Q: “Besides clowns, what makes you feel overwhelmed and anxious?”

A: “Thinking about the changes that we face as a human race if we don’t take some crucial steps over the next couple years.”

Q: “What do you value most?”

A: “I’d say knowledge and compassion. I believe that these two things can change the world.”

Q: “That’s really inspiring, actually. What’s your favorite inspirational quote?”

A: “ ‘Whether you think can or you can’t, you’re right’ - Henry Ford.”

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

We get it, you’re obsessed with the Flying Panda Green Apple Vodka Seltzer (it’s absolutely delicious, so we can’t blame you), but that refreshing, crispy goodness isn’t even the best part! Each can of our Green Apple Vodka Seltzer assists Flying Panda in supporting Fossil Rim’s mission of conserving everyone’s favorite endangered dichromatic animal, the zebra. In honor of the recent International Zebra Day, we decided to share some interesting facts about this stunning species so that you actually have something to break the ice at Valentine’s Day dinner (romance is hard, isn’t it?).

Flying Panda and Fossil Rim aid in the conservation of The Grevy’s zebra. These grazing animals can be found roaming the plains of Africa alongside other grazing species such as the wildebeest, ostrich, and antelope. However, “roaming” might not be the best word to describe zebras, as they are fully capable of galloping up to 40 mph! In addition to being fast, these animals have quite a bit of spunk, as they are known for their untamable wild nature. Despite how they dress, zebras can most likely see in full color, so we’re guessing that the ridiculous outfit has more to do with abstract artistic expression. In fact, each zebra has its own exclusive style, as every zebra’s stripes and patterns are completely unique, just like a human fingerprint.

The zebra’s favorite pastime is definitely food (we’ve decided that the zebra is our spirit animal, too). Some of the zebra’s favorite meals include fresh grass, juicy fruit, shrubs, and bark. Zebras are quite the picky eaters, as they are able to detect the slightest changes in food quality. You’d probably be picky if you spent 60% of your day grazing and eating food, too! That time commitment jumps up to 80% when food becomes especially scarce, which unfortunately occurs all too often for the zebras.

The Grevy’s zebra probably would test highly in introversion, as they do not form any sort of permanent herds. Rather, the striped stallions (males) live alone in their 4-square-mile territories. They mark their territory by decorating their bachelor pads with dung (let’s be honest, it could be a lot worse). Stallions will occasionally clash over territory via pushing contests, featuring lots of rearing and biting (it’s way more hardcore than your typical bar fight). Fortunately for the stallions, they don’t have to try very hard at romance, as they will mate with any mares (females) that happen to wander into their territory. When born, a foal is capable of sprinting alongside its mother within just an hour (wouldn’t it be great if humans could do that, too?).

Unfortunately, these exquisite animals struggle to survive mostly due to habitat loss. Zebras already had a restricted range of habitat, and losing any of that forces zebras to compete with other grazing animals, livestock, and cattle for resources. Due to overgrazing and competition for water, juvenile zebras have a very low survival rate. In just the last 30 years, zebras have suffered a 54% population reduction, as there were just 2,800 of them left in 2019. In Ethiopia, zebras are actively hunted and killed for their glamorous skin, but sometimes it’s for food, and, in some regions, medicinal uses. Besides habitat loss and hunting, The Grevy’s zebra also faces threats from disease outbreaks, drought, and fragmented populations.

The Grevy’s zebra was one of Fossil Rim’s first Species Survival Plan animals, and they are continuing to do incredible work to cherish and conserve this remarkable species. You can help zebras survive by donating directly at or by enjoying a Flying Panda Green Apple Vodka Seltzer!

Updated: Jan 23, 2020

Welcome to…the Flying Panda Blog! Now, you might be wondering what kind of internet blackhole you’ve gotten yourself into and how you’ve ended up here. Well, Pen and Panda, otherwise known as your second favorite internet rabbit hole (the deepest, darkest parts of YouTube will always reign supreme), is a blog that will act as headquarters for anything and everything Flying Panda. New flavor releases? We’ve got those. Information on our awesome animal-saving partners? No doubt. Tasty cocktails that will make your taste buds tingle? Absolutely. Embarrassing pictures of our CEO? You could put money on it, but it would probably be better spent on a can of Flying Panda Cherry Limeade to be completely honest.

Pen and Panda is the best place for you to discover all the juicy details regarding Flying Panda! We’ll be sharing everything from new music we like, to giving tips on how to live a more responsible, sustainable lifestyle, and everything in between. The blog will serve as an extension of our company, personality, and mission to better engage with our beloved community (aka: you).

So, get excited to learn all about the wacky people, fun events, tasty cocktails, and impactful animal conservationists that make up the Flying Panda Family. We can’t wait to share more content and news with you in the future, so stay tuned into the (Flying) Panda-monium.

Michelle Porter - our CEO/Founder

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