What’s the buzz? Beekeeping and brewing take over the senior community – News

CPAB chief executive Greg Strickland says the effort has been a hit with residents.

Vi at Highlands Ranch in Colorado, one of 10 continuing care retirement communities operated by Vi Living, has a one-of-a-kind new microbrewery in its own backyard.

Beginning with an interest in activities such as beekeeping, gardening, wine pairing, and wine and beer tasting, residents became especially enthusiastic about using local and Colorado ingredients and rose to the challenge of brewing together, according to community leaders.

“It’s really creating a buzz,” joked Angela Owens, Vi Manager at Highlands Ranch Lifestyle. McKnight Senior Residence.

The initiative was pitched to residents by CPAB Chief Executive Greg Strickland, who explained why the effort has been such a hit with residents.

“The thing about shuffling is that it’s very convenient, except when it’s not,” he said. “You start the grain brewing process, but then you have a 45-minute wait. Some help, ask questions, some want to know the details and science of pH, but for some it’s more of a social event.

The retired community, who started beekeeping in 2018, were delighted with the initial activity and named the first batch of drinks, a wheat beer with honey, “Bees Knees” in honor of Highland bees Ranch that inspired the project.

Along with the physical process of making the beer, residents are also fully involved in the planning, naming and distribution of the product. The end result is packaged and then distributed to local farmers markets.

“It’s just a free beer,” Strickland said. “Who doesn’t like that?”

But make no mistake – bigger plans are in store for the backyard brewery. Strickland said he hopes to see residents’ beer marketed and sold in partnership with a local brewery, with all proceeds going to Alzheimer’s research and people with dementia.

The hardest part of the effort, Strickland said, was getting the project off the ground.

“It’s easy to sit here and say, ‘Hey, let’s start a brewery,’ but you need ventilation, drainage,” he said, adding. “Once we took the first steps it was actually a lot of fun, and now it’s just flowing by itself.”

Strickland, described by his colleagues as “a creative leader who exploits the community [food and beverage] program like a five-star restaurant, using local producers and growing many of its ingredients on site,” said the project fosters a mutually beneficial environment for staff members and residents, who are fueled by the passion of everyone for creative projects and new challenges.

“The more I engaged with the residents, the more they engaged in return,” Strickland said. “It’s easy to put your head down, do your job and go home. But that’s not why we’re doing this. »

Creative initiatives such as a brewery are an ideal solution to widespread industry issues, such as job satisfaction, Strickland added.

“I encourage anyone in the senior living industry to say this is more than a job,” he said. “They should bring their passions to it.”