Making delicious beer is job enough, but some breweries have expanded their empires to other pursuits like bikes, bowling and movie theaters.
Oskar Blues Brewery/bicycle manufacturer
Thank a thief for REEB Cycles: The company was born after Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis’ bike was snatched in 2011. Dismayed by both the ubiquity of bike thievery and the dearth of quality, American-made products to replace said stolen bikes, the brewery folks founded REEB (yes, it’s “beer” spelled backwards) with an eye toward building handmade bikes with domestically produced steel tubing. “It’s something you don’t see very much in the bike industry anymore,” says Chad Melis, Oskar Blues’ marketing guru and REEB’s operations manager. “The handcrafted, hand-welded element is by far the most important part, and that mimics the hand brewed character of brewing beer.” Along with building and shipping bikes, REEB also operates CyclHops Bike CANtina, a full-service retail bike shop-slash-taqueria in Longmont, Colorado, and REEB Ranch, a trail-riding destination located on a farm in Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Tröegs Brewing Co./art gallery
Pennsylvania-based Tröegs sends a call out to artistically inclined beer nerds each spring for submissions to its Art of Tröegs contest; this summer, the brewery will finally have a place to display all the pieces it’s been sent. The Tröegs Gallery, according to spokesman Justin Williams, will be housed above the brewery’s new Splinter Cellar wood aging area and will showcase the best Art of Tröegs submissions and commissioned pieces from pro artists.
Burnt City Brewing/bowling alley
Operating at various times under different names—Lucky Strike, 710 Lounge and, most recently, Atlas Brewing Co.—this boutique bowling alley/ bar/brewpub in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood finally became a cohesive unit in May. The eight hardwood lanes are old-school (read: no automatic scoring), but bowlers forced to grab a round after a beer frame only have to take a few steps to reach the brewery’s taps.
Ninkasi Brewing Co./recording studio
Since its opening, Ninkasi has supported indie musicians in many ways—album pressing sponsorships, assistance with tour scheduling, booking bands for performances at the brewery’s events. But the desire to grease the wheels for up-and-coming artists crystallized in 2015 with the opening of Ninkasi Studios, an in-house recording studio on the brewery’s campus in Eugene, Oregon. James Book, Ninkasi’s Brand and Experiential Marketing Director, helms the operation and, at no charge, guides artists utilizing his two decades of music industry expertise: He operated a Los Angeles studio and was the bassist for The Flys—you’d recognize their 1998 hit, “Got You (Where I Want You),” if you heard it.
McMenamins/movie theater/spa/golf course
Perhaps the most prolific brewery slashy of all, Oregon-based McMenamins operates an eclectic mix of secondary businesses across its 54 locations, from nine separate movie theaters, 10 hotels, five soaking pools and two spas to a winery, a distillery and a pair of golf courses. “We didn’t want to avoid getting involved with these things just because we didn’t know much about that specific business,” says Renee Rank Ignacio, the chain’s marketing director. “The spirit at McMenamins is, ‘We don’t know how to do that, but we want to learn how to do it. So why not?’”