Bottoms up: a yoga instruction or drinking term? Or both? In the case of Smart Beer, New York State’s very first certified organic, non-GMO beer, it may very well be the latter, because…wait, what? It’s taken THIS long for NY to have an organic beer? For shame. Anyway, now we have one. This is sort of big news for NY peeps.
While we don’t condone drinking on the mat – do whatever you like, of course! – we, as yoga practitioners, do enjoy ourselves a frothy adult beverage every now and again. Though not intrinsically a yoga beer – that would involve some sort of chakra aligning effervescent magic – we’d venture to say it’s a beer for yogis. Or at least for people who make it a habit to be more conscious of what they put into their bodies. Sure, it’s alcohol…but it’s organic alcohol! It’s also the only beer we’ve seen to include a list of ingredients right on the label. (Why is all other beer a mystery, anyway?)
“I wanted to enjoy both my social life and my healthy, active lifestyle,” says Smart Beer founder Gabriel Heymann. “You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your lifestyle or values in order to celebrate, and that’s what this beer is about. We can have it all.”
If beer and yoga isn’t having it all…
We tried the golden ale, the first Smart brew, and would say it’s nice and ale-y and a good option for people who like a semi-sweet wheat beer. It’s brewed with orange peel and licorice root which gives it a nice, fragrant touch. To be honest, though, we’re IPA fans and can’t wait for their bitter brew.
We recently checked in with Smart Beer founder Gabriel Heymann and asked him a few questions about his new beer company. A yogi and yoga teacher, Heymann shared his thoughts with us on what it was like to get the company off the ground, why he started it in the first place, and his opinion on the detox/retox trend.
YD: So…the first organic beer company in NY. What was the hardest part about starting Smart Beer?
The hardest part was everything! I started the company simply on an idea. I wanted to create a beer that fit mine and my friend’s active, healthy lifestyles. Starting Smart Beer was a step by step learning process, with a lot of growing pains. But every step of the way, people were excited about what we were doing. And that excitement inspired me to keep going. The most important factors in launching a company from scratch is patience, passion and perseverance. I learned to stay with it and persevere.
Be honest, what helped you the most, the yoga or the beer?
Ha! It was really a balance of both. I am intrigued at the power of the balance between yoga and running a business. Both fuel and inspire the other. I like to allow the things I learn from my yoga practice into my business, and I like to bring things I learn in business into my yoga practice. It makes everything a learning process, and kind of a game.
And the fact that I am creating a beer business makes it that much more fun.
What do you think about the detox/retox trend (yoga in breweries, bars, etc.)?
I like all things yoga, and believe in whatever gets people breathing, moving, connecting and feeling good. If yoga in a different setting introduces someone to yoga who wouldn’t have heard about it otherwise, I am all for it.
What’s coming next? (IPA…IPA…IPA…)
So many exciting things going on. We’re planning for expansion in 2016 throughout NY, and expanding into new states. Lots of upcoming music events too. And we’re also planning the release of our next beer styles starting in spring with our Smart Beer Organic IPA.
What does Smart Beer pair well with?
I personally enjoy Smart Beer with a great Vegetarian meal. Our organic golden ale is nice and refreshing and won’t fill you up.
But what I really enjoy, is seeing people drink Smart Beer in all different settings paired with all kinds of food that they love. That’s what it’s all about for me. Seeing people incorporate Smart Beer into their lives.
Where to find it: Smart Beer launched just this fall and they’re working on growing its availability. Current distribution covers New York City, Westchester, the Hudson Valley, through Saratoga Springs. It’s also available at Whole Foods locations in Westchester with NYC and Long Island coming soon. Check the website or their twitter/instagram @smartbeer for updates
As always, yoga and drink responsibly. Cheers.