Lululemon’s latest business decision to create its own craft beer has me thinking about the implications of combining alcohol with athletics.
The yoga-pant retail company partnered with Stanley Brewing Company to create the “Curiosity Lager,” a beer that will be released on August 15th in sync with their annual Seawheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver. Apologies Americans, but it is only available in Canada for now.
From a purely marketing standpoint, I think Lululemon may have made a smart move by selling beer as it may attract more males to the brand. However, I feel a little disconcerted that the company feels the need use alcohol to attract people to a fitness brand; it seems a little contradictory.
Lululemon isn’t the only fitness-related brand using food and drinks to get people excited about exercise. Off the top of my head I can think of a few races that use the two as incentives to complete a race: The Hot Chocolate Run, The Chardonnay Run, the Healdsburg Half Marathon. Even at my yoga studio, there is a yoga teacher that invites students to grab a glass of wine with them after class. I think it doesn’t hurt sprinkling in a little “sin” if it motivates people to become more active. I will also confess that I love wine, beer, and chocolate and I will likely be at fitness events that offer the three but I think there is a limit on how far it should go.
There are a few things that bother me specifically about Lululemon’s beer marketing tactic. First, a few years ago, Lululemon’s founder Chip Wilson stated that “some women’s bodies just don’t work for their yoga pants” implying that only women of a certain size should shop at the store. But now the company is promoting carb-packed, empty-calories beer (and potentially beer bellies??). Another thing that annoys me is a tweet by the lululemon that states “Beer is the new yoga pant.” It seems like Lululemon has forgotten that yoga is meant to be a spiritual and mindful practice which has nothing to do with beer. To go even further, modern yoga mats and yoga pants weren’t even a thing until a few decades ago and it seems like we need all these material goods and treats to enjoy practicing. Finally, I think Lululemon should keep it simple stick to what it’s good at and leave the wine and beer to the connoisseurs!
Before I go on this rant for too long, I can’t forgot that I am talking about a multi-billion, multinational corporate company whose main goal is to make money. So before I suggest that Lululemon should have some sort of “social responsibility” to stay true to yoga, I have to remind myself of their motives. Who knows, maybe if I were running such a large company I would think differently.
I’m not against Lululemon personally and don’t think they are a bad company for doing this, I just think it is a little silly.
What are your thoughts?