Redefining the Beer Run

Working at the Oskar Blues Brewery sounds grueling. You’ll be sore and sweat a lot—but not from the job itself. Dale Katechis, founder of the brewery, is a health nut, and he wants his workers to be health nuts, too. Or maybe just plain nuts.

As the Wall Street Journal reports:

On Tuesday nights, employees gather for group mountain bike rides that might last 3½ hours, followed by beer and food at one of the three nearby restaurants he owns. “We ride and race year round,” he says. “Even in the snow.”

Four days a week, Mr. Katechis has a personal trainer teach boot camp-style classes at the company gym he had built next to the brewery in 2008. Two days a week, yoga classes are offered. There is a weekly Oskar Blues run club. A massage therapist is on call two days a week. These perks are free for the approximately 275 people he employs. “It’s important to promote healthy living at work,” he says. “It’s the way I live my life. It also allows me the vices I love, like eating and drinking great beer.”

Part of me views this as a dream come true. In a perfect world, I’d exercise every day and precisely for the same reasons Katechis does it—in order to balance out a love for food and drink. But there are aspects to this that seem shall we say, cultish:

At 8 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and at 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, many employees are at the gym doing walking lunges, crunches, and tossing medicine balls. A trainer leads what Mr. Katechis calls “In the Core” workouts, which incorporate plyometric exercises and use light weights or body weight. One day a week, a yoga instructor leads a class. “The other day I was partnered with a guy who was on his second day of the job at the restaurant,” he says. “We were able to work together at our own speeds doing crab walks, push-ups, plank pose and burpees.”

I’m exhausted just reading this regimen. On the one hand, you’d be in great shape. On the other, you’d spend a lot more time with your coworkers while drenched in sweat. And nowhere does the article detail what happens later: Are there lockers? Individual showers? Or is everyone just showering together as part of a team-building exercise?

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