Brewing Up Better Fitness

Forget the gym. Why shouldn’t craft beer lovers work out at their favorite craft brewery?

Seriously, brewery workouts are a fast-growing trend that craft breweries all across the country are adopting. They can be a great way to bring customers in to the brewery during slow times of day. They can be a great way to reach out to health-conscious customers who haven’t come in to the brewery before.

Brewery workouts can be a powerful marketing tool—and for participants, they can be a lot of fun.

If you’re considering jumping on this beer-and-fitness bandwagon, what do you need to know?

First, you’ll need to decide what your workout will entail. Does everyone meet at the brewery and head out on a short run, a brisk hike or a bike ride? Does everyone arrive at the brewery, yoga mat in hand, prepared to stretch their way to inner peace?

Next, you’ll have to decide on the particulars of the workout. Is it something someone on staff can (and wants to) manage, or do you need to build a relationship with an outside instructor or organization? Will this be a weekly or monthly event?

Finally, and most importantly, you’ll have to focus on the safety of the workout participants. If a pint of your beer is included in the price of admission, when do they get that beer? We’ve all seen those wild photos of people sipping craft brews while contorting their bodies into yoga textbook poses.

Do they need to sign a liability waiver before participating? Do you have an expert on call who can provide you with the language for such a waiver? Does your brewery insurance package offer you sufficient coverage in the event that someone sustains an injury?

“Like many great marketing trends, brewery workouts can make a tremendously positive impact — and expose the brewery to some considerable risk,” pointed out Richard Beall, principal of Beall Brewery Insurance.

“It’s best not to jump into a trend like this, but to give it careful consideration — and to ensure that the business is protected against any contingency,” he added.

Since the hottest trend right now seems to be beer and yoga, we’ll offer some specific tips for breweries considering expanding their event schedule to include a session or two.

• Identify a competent yoga instructor. Ideally, you will find a certified instructor who is easygoing and accustomed to working with beginner students. He or she will need to be flexible (no pun intended!), since the class will be taking place in an unusual setting and likely include a broad spectrum of student experience. And may even include some students who don’t take the yoga part of beer-and-yoga especially serious!

• Be sure to obtain a certificate of insurance to be named an additional insured on the instructor’s insurance policy.

• Consider having students sign a liability waiver before participating in class.

• Many brewery yoga classes offer participants a free beer after the conclusion of class. Be sure you do not offer any beer tasting prior to the start of class.

• Reach out to other breweries that offer yoga instruction, and ask them to share their top tips to ensure participant safety and enjoyment. What do they wish they’d known when they started offering yoga at their breweries?

• Above all, speak to your insurance agent. Before beginning this program, you must ensure that your brewery has sufficient coverage — in the event that you need it.

“The craft brewery industry is all about community, about enjoyment and a brewery workout sounds like a great fit,” said Beall, who works with craft breweries across the country, from start-up microbreweries to regional craft breweries with multi-state distribution.

“It’s sometimes tough to remember that we live in a litigious society. That makes it all the more important for craft breweries to turn to the experts on their team — their attorneys, their insurance agent, their accountant — before deciding to jump into a hot trend.”

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