January 18, 2016 7:40 pm

Beer drawing more men to yoga classes as new trend hits the U.S.

Craft breweries are partnering up with yoga studios around the country as more breweries are hosting classes to attract a new crowd to the bars and yoga studios are using the beer to get more men to try yoga.

AP Photo/Tony Dejak
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MIAMI – Call it detox and retox: Around the country, yogis are jumping up from savasana and hopping onto a barstool as yoga classes are making their way into breweries.

While the teaching is traditional, the classes tend to attract newbies, especially men, says Beth Cosi, founder of Bendy Brewski in Charleston, South Carolina and Memphis.

“We get the men in the door mostly because it’s in a brewery and they get a beer afterward. That’s the carrot. A lot of them come with girlfriends, wives, sisters,” Cosi said.

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Her $15 classes are 45 minutes, compared to a typical 90-minute class. The room isn’t heated to near 100-degree temperature and the partnering breweries typically offer a tour of the facility after or the chance to drink a flight of several beers.

“They both lead to relaxation. And they both have a little bit of a social aspect, you know. And it’s a very relaxing place to do yoga. So, you know, very unpretentious,” Jason Crafts, 43-year-old IT project manager, said after a recent class at Raleigh Brewing Co. in Raleigh, North Carolina.

While traditional yoga tends to encourage a navel-gazing focus on oneself, individual breathing and controlling one’s thoughts, the yoga beer classes are all about community.

“This gives you the opportunity to come to your mat, to connect with yourself … and then to socialize after class and get to know people,” said Mikki Trowbridge, whose free classes in the Salem, Oregon area draw between 75 and 150 people two or three times a month.

Trowbridge’s business plan wasn’t calculated. She and her husband just liked a strong, sweaty yoga class and a nice craft beer and figured they weren’t alone.

“(Beer) is part of our culture here. We have breweries everywhere and so breweries are where we gather for social time,” she said.

The trend has caught on quickly with yoga-beer partnerships throughout Florida, New York and California. Cosi has been mentoring yoga teachers across the country looking to host beer yoga events. Beer maker Dogfish Head created a Namaste beer, Belgian-style white with dried organic orange flesh and fresh-cut lemongrass; and Lululemon, the athletic apparel line, partnered with Stanley Park Brewing on a limited-edition style with Chinook and Lemondrop hops.

The classes also offer a friendlier environment than yoga studios where many run out after namaste without talking to anyone.

“There’s a lot of (single) people that come in with the goal of talking to someone new and they already know they have beer and yoga in common,” said Melissa Klimo-Major, who started teaching yoga classes in breweries around Cleveland in 2014.

Trowbridge and Klimt drew notable crowds after hosting two beer yoga events in New York City over the summer. The duo, who met on Instagram, is taking their business on the road with a west coast tour planned for the spring and several Midwest stops over the summer.

Breweries say the collaborations are also offering up a bonus for them.

“The majority of our yogis are usually girls and the majority of people in the brewery are men so it’s kind of helped crossed that chasm of getting girls into craft beer,” said Chris Gove president of the SaltWater Brewery in Delray Beach.

Allen G. Breed contributed to this report in Raleigh, North Carolina.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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