Take 10 steps out of the taproom into the beer garden and take a deep breath. You’ll smell the pines and the rich cedar mulch. The air is fresh. You can feel your heart rate slow and your muscles relax. It’s wonderful. It’s also very intentional.
Breath is not something I (Wendy) take for granted. I noticed my last year in high school I was having difficulty catching my breath after exertion. It was bad. To the point of almost passing out. But I didn’t say anything – not to my coaches, not to my parents, not even to friends.
When I moved to college several months later, it became worse. Much worse. I expected to have challenges breathing for a couple months because I was living in the mountains (7,000 feet above sea level). When it became worse instead of better, I finally went to the clinic. They diagnosed me with exercise induced asthma, gave me an inhaler, taught me how to use it and what to do when I was experiencing shortness of breath, and sent me on my way.
Over the past three decades, I’ve discovered how much more than just exercise triggers it. Cigarette smoke, mold, dust, juniper, and the list goes on! Worse, there seems to be a correlation between mild allergies that can easily turn into upper respiratory infections that can easily go into bronchitis that lasts for a long time. Which sucks. Breathing is something I consciously think about a lot.
While we do all we can to try to minimize the risk of COVID at the brewery, none of us can truly control our risk short of staying home and coming in contact with, well no one. What was normal in terms of allergies and respiratory issues (especially a dry cough) is now frightening.
Which takes us to one of our policies – no smoking.
Regardless of what I might personally think about smoking, none of our staff smokes and for one (me), it could easily create a huge health issue. When we ask it’s done in your car, it’s not a personal attack on you, it’s self-preservation for me.
There is an environmental component to our policy. Did you know that most cigarette filters, the part that looks like white cotton, are actually made of plastic fibers (cellulose acetate) which can take up to 10 years to decompose. Additionally, smoking in the beer garden presents a fire hazard.
We aren’t condemning smokers. We are honoring our health, the pleasure of our customers that enjoy the fresh air, and our planet. We recognize our policy will cause some people to boycott us. We hope our customers who smoke will understand why we have the policy we do and find it in their hearts to honor and respect it. We want to stay open, keep making good beer, and provide an incredible experience for you.