Dale Katechis: The King of Cans
In 1997, when Dale Katechis opened Oskar Blues, a tiny Rocky Mountain brewpub, in Lyons, Colorado, the only canned beer available was from the big boys — Miller, Budweiser, and local industry giant Coors. Canned beer was viewed by craft brewers as watery swill. But Katechis saw an opening. "Early on we got laughed at a lot, all the way until four or five years into the project," he says. Today, Katechis' Pale Ale is a canned-beer powerhouse, with additional breweries in North Carolina and Texas churning out 192,000 barrels of beer per year. And now Katechis is extending that innovative vision into the company's ever-expanding lifestyle division, which includes Reeb Cycles mountain bikes (Reeb is beer spelled backward), Hotbox Roasters coffee (packaged in cans, of course), and the B. Stiff and Sons soda line. Katechis has even opened a resort in North Carolina, Oskar Blues Reeb Ranch, which hosts festivals and weddings and is adjacent to the bike trails of Pisgah National Forest. Investors might call the side projects diversifying, but Katechis thinks differently. "We're just doing what we love," he says.