Brewery Ergonomics: How to Stay Safe and Healthy in Your Brewery

Craft Brewers Conference 2021
Location: Denver, Colorado
Speakers: Steve Finnie, Nicole Lavery

As the brewing industry grows and ages, so do its challenges, including the safety, health, and wellness of its workers. New breweries are often created and operated by professionals and workers from other professions, not used to the rigors and physical exertion of the industry. For those of us that are at bit more established, the challenge then becomes preserving and sustaining healthy physical and mental capacities, so that we can maintain our breweries and keep them running efficiently. This seminar will examine current health and wellness concerns not currently documented in our industry and what we need to do to promote the health and wellness of our brewers.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the current literature regarding musculoskeletal injuries within breweries and other manufacturers similar to breweries
  • Discuss work related stress in breweries and other manufacturing industries
  • Describe successful interventions that have been shown to decrease pain and injury in other manufacturing industries
  • Recommendations to improve health and wellness of brewers and brewery employees based on literature

About the Speakers

Dr. Steve Finnie

Dr. Steve Finnie, Brewer and Owner

Little Thistle Brewing Company

Steve Finnie is the brewer and owner at Little Thistle Brewing Company in Rochester, Minnesota. Steve emigrated from Scotland to the U.S. in 1996 to pursue graduate school. He has a background in health and wellness and physical therapy and has published several articles and papers in these areas. He holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology and also a Masters and Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy. Steve worked at Mayo Clinic for 16 years. He has been working full time as a professional brewer and business owner for the past six years and has a particular interest in the ergonomics of brewing and injury prevention. He is co-owner of Little Thistle Brewing Company with his wife Dawn, who is the current president of the Minnesota Brewers Guild. Steve and Dawn have two boys, Duncan (14) and Ewan (12) who enjoy being dragged to breweries all over the states.

Dr. Nicole Lavery

Dr. Nicole Lavery, Vice President and Assistant Professor

Lavery Brewing and Gannon University

Dr. Nicole Lavery, OTD, OTR/L, and her husband Jason Lavery currently own and operate Lavery Brewing Company in Erie, Pennsylvania. Dr. Lavery is also an occupational therapist and teaches full-time within the occupational therapy program at Gannon University in Erie. As an occupational therapy professor and co-owner of a small, local craft brewery, she has come to understand how rigorous and physically challenging working in brewery manufacturing truly is on an individual's mind and body. Her hope is to educate the industry and create a healthy and safe environment for all brewers, as well as create an opportunity for occupational therapists to gain an active role within this movement.