Beer-based fitness events are booming, and it’s not bad

The first time I attended The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Yoga on Tap event (then a partnership with Lululemon), the brewery was still at its original location, now home to Sugar Creek Brewing Co. And it was overflowing with yogis, both advanced and amateur.

I went with a few friends and made one new friend over a beer flight. And all I could think was, “Why didn’t I find this sooner?” It was like this untapped well of infinite social possibilities.


I dropped out of the trend, letting work and my yoga studio routine get in the way.

But beer-based fitness events have boomed. During the warmer months, you could probably find a fitness event at a brewery each day of the week. OMB Yoga on Tap continues indoors on Tuesdays.

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The Sycamore Brewing Run Club meets Wednesdays and Saturdays. The NoDa Brewing Run Club meets Wednesdays with runners of all abilities and has a finish-line mission to toast their fitness victory at the taproom. Free Range Brewing hosts Free Yoga Thursdays. Lenny Boy Brewing hosts yoga class on Saturdays and the Lenny Boy Run Club on Sundays. Sugar Creek hosts Tap Room Fitness events with Metro CrossFit. The list goes on.

I assisted at NC Yoga Bar’s Wednesday night class at 7th Street Public Market — they host yoga at apartments and breweries around town, and have at least one more class scheduled for Feb. 24 at 7th Street Public Market. The market stays open an extra half hour so vendors can serve their goods to the yogis. Tank*s Tap served beer.

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But no matter which watering hole is hosting these fitness events, this isn’t a party scene. It’s not an irresponsible binge-drinking scene.

“It’s genuinely just to bring people together and socialize,” said NC Yoga Bar founder Lindsay Cunningham. “People connect over a drink whether it’s alcohol or kombucha.”

Besides, it’s inexpensive and everyone is invited.

Before she became a certified teacher and started teaching with NC Yoga Bar, Ali Washburn said she tried a yoga class at Sycamore when she was still new to Charlotte. She stuck around to socialize after: “It was such an easy way to say, ‘Can I sit with you and have a drink?'”

And she met three of her best friends that way. “I just love the community feeling of it,” she said. “You can just come and do yoga and hang out.”

Yoga and running at Sycamore is actually part of the “Sycamore Active” program created by the brewery’s owners Sarah and Justin Brigham. Katelyn Carpenter of Sycamore said said people usually linger for one or two beers after running or practicing yoga.

She said, “We just want everyone to come and be healthy and socialize afterward … Everyone is in good spirits.”

 Photos: Remy Thurston, Katie Toussaint