Is the Beer + Yoga Trend Here to Stay?
Feature image courtesy of Great Divide Brewing Company
Drinking a beer while sitting on a bar stool is an image that many people have in their heads when they envision the craft beer scene. Now, times are changing. The craft beer boom has changed people’s perceptions towards beer in general, and on a more finite level—what you can do when you’re drinking one.
Combining a physical activity like yoga with drinking a craft beer might have raised eyebrows in the past, but now, it is a trend that many brewers are embracing as it opens up their brand to new patrons and new revenue streams. So is the beer + yoga trend a flash in the pan or an indicator of how the craft beer boom has changed people’s perceptions towards suds? To find out, I asked the people who have embraced the trend.
From the Breweries
According to Patrick Libonate, VP of Marketing for The Bronx Brewery, the arrival of yoga classes to the brewery has a lot of positive impacts, including bringing in new customers, and has helped them utilize their space in new ways. Their goal—create a unique yoga experience that only The Bronx Brewery can deliver. “Yoga in a brewery is nothing new but we worked with a yoga instructor to create a custom program called ‘Brew You Yoga’ where the teachings and exercise are actually educating the ‘student’ on the brewing process as well as the benefits of yoga. Think building heat, staying in balance, cooling down, etc. We feel this is what makes our yoga program truly unique,” said Libonate.
Is the trend here to stay? “I think there is always going to be a strong relevance between the yoga and craft beer community,” said Libonate, “There’s a great story in that these are both ancient traditions that still play an important role in our society. Both yoga and craft beer continue to grow in popularity so we don’t see it backing off anytime soon.”
For owner Steve Steinbacher, the yoga trend has been a very positive boon for their space, as it allows people to be active, while also indulging in craft beer. This craving for something more than sitting at a bar stool is why Steinbacher thinks the craft beer movement is so unique. To meet this demand, Cabarrus has a weekly CBC Yoga Club, with each week having a different theme and focus.
Is the trend here to stay? “I do think it is here to stay and will only grow and intensify as people look for active things to do with others in a different setting,” said Steinbacher.
Senior Communications Director, Erin Weston believes the presence of yoga at their Flying Dog brew facility has been fantastic, even creating a new Sunday morning tradition: Wake and Snake yoga classes. Erin says that the local yoga community has embraced these Sunday morning sessions not only because they’re fun, but also because “all proceeds benefit a nonprofit that facilitates yoga and mindfulness programs, like trauma-informed yoga training.”
Is the trend here to stay? “Because it’s a hand-crafted, artisanal product, craft beer feels more like a lifestyle choice than your average CPG. I think it’s a natural progression to integrate it into a healthy lifestyle, whether it be yoga, running, etc. The activities may change down the road, but I don’t see the overall association changing,” said Weston.
To capitalize on the popularity, Flying Dog recently hosted their second specialty yoga event, Yoda on the Lawn, which was Star Wars-themed yoga class that incorporates props like light sabers. Where do I sign up?
Katie Baker, Tupps Marketing & Events Director has found that the newfound yoga trend has brought in new people to the brewery and has also been something that generates great buzz for them on social media. They currently host a monthly yoga session on the 4th Sunday of every month in partnership with North Texas Yoga.
Is the trend here to stay? “I’d say it’s here to stay as long as yoga stays a trend,” said Baker.
Perrin Brewing Public Relations Coordinator Lindsey VanDenBoom notes that the trend has brought the local Grand Rapids community together in new ways and has opened up the craft beer world to a new section of people who crave an active lifestyle. Perrin Brewing shares their brewery space with a local yoga studio and also have a few new themed-sessions in the works: “Bend & Brew,” which is a yoga class the first Saturday of the month Oct-May, and “Nama’stay for Lunch,” which is a new yoga series during the summer that includes a Friday yoga session and lunch series located outside on the lawn of the brewery.
Is the trend here to stay? “I would hope the trend is here to stay,” said VanDenBoom, “We have seen lots of growth in these series over the past year and hope to continue to be an outlet for people to gather, enjoy, even relax and feel good about spending their time with friends at Perrin!”
Shannon Berner, Great Divide Brewing Marketing Manager explains that hosting yoga in an unconventional space like a tap room has made the activity more approachable to those who might be intimidated by a studio and has been a big reason as to why the trend has caught on so fast. Shannon started their Hoppy Yogis program four years ago as a way to merge different friend groups into one fun and collaborative activity: beer yoga. And for those that already love beer and yoga, combining the two makes for an “efficient evening.”
Is the trend here to stay? “I don’t think craft beer is a trend, and I don’t think yoga is a trend, so I’d like to think not, said Berner. “I just think someday it will be as normal as bringing a beer to enjoy at the top of a hike. I can’t speak for all the beer and yoga groups that have been popping up all over the world, but I can pretty confidently say that beer and physical activity are two things that Coloradans aren’t tiring of anytime soon.”
Berner says that Great Divide average about 100-200 people each month for their classes and their very happy and optimistic for what the future of brewery yoga has in store.
From the Innovators
Alicia Thomas co-founded Work For Your Beer back in the winter of 2016 because she, along with her business partner Melanie, saw the value in “beer fitness,” which is attending activities like “yoga and bike rides in breweries or beer-serving locations.” Work for Your Beer was a way to organize all of these beer fitness activities into one comprehensive website that showcases the now 75+ local Charlotte beer fitness activities that residents could check out throughout the week. “Our goal at Work For Your Beer is to make it easier for people in Charlotte to learn about all of these beer fitness activities so they can get out and support the breweries, but also so they can live a healthy, balanced lifestyle,” said Thomas.
Is the trend here to stay? “I would agree that the trend is here to stay,” said Thomas, “we are stoked to help build the beer fitness community in CLT.”
Jessie Erickson founded Runa Yoga with the mission of combining two highly enjoyable things, beer and yoga, into one immersive experience that gives people a chance to get new perspectives on each activity at the same time. Erickson currently has a partnership with Minnesota-based Bent Paddle Brewing, where they offer the Runa Yoga + Beer class twice at the brewing facility twice a month. According to Erickson, the classes have been an instant-hit with beer patrons and yoga lovers alike.
Is the trend here to stay? “I don’t really like the word trend or fad,” said Erickson, “I just do what I do, because I like to do it and the response from the community has been really positive. On my days off I like practicing the art of yoga, engaging in stimulating conversation and having a beer. I thought since this is something I like to do, I bet others will like it too. I was right.”
Like Jessie Erickson said, the essence of the beer yoga trend is combining two highly entertaining activities into one event that amplifies the unique qualities of each. So, is the beer + yoga trend here to stay? I’d say so, as long as people are for fun things to do where they can drink beer in the process. Those are my thoughts, I look forward to hearing yours. Cheers!