Dale Katechis is no stranger to turning his hobbies into businesses.
The founder of Oskar Blues Brewery — and namesake of Dale’s Pale Ale — was already a restaurateur when he decided in 2002 to turn one of his favorite pastimes, homebrewing, into part of his business. The decision worked out, to put it mildly. Oskar Blues grew quickly, acquiring other beer makers and eventually becoming one of the largest craft brewers in the country, with production facilities in three states. Monster Energy bought the company in 2022.
But he wasn’t done there. Katechis, an avid mountain biker, also started his own boutique bike manufacturer, REEB Cycles, to help further his love of riding on dirt roads. Other investments have included a hobby farm in Boulder County and cannabis companies.
So, it’s no surprise that his latest passion, a sport he took up about a year ago, is the impetus for his newest venture, an indoor pickleball club and gathering space in Longmont.
This week, Katechis and business partner Adam Kahn will open 3rd Shot Pickleball, at 20 S. Bowen St. With five courts, it will offer coaching and clinics along with tournament play and — of course — a bar, called the Hidden Pickle, featuring local craft beer and spirits.
“I started this as a pet project thing, because I had fallen in love with pickleball,” said Katechis, who was using the building, which he owns, as a sort of private pickleball club. “After (Kahn and I) met, we hit it off and decided to take a shot at this together.”
Kahn believes indoor courts are part of the future of the rapidly growing game since noise complaints at outdoor courts around the country have caused problems. A Wheat Ridge location of 3rd Shot, which also opens in November, includes 13 indoor courts.
But that’s just the beginning. Katechis and Kahn are thinking of mixing in one of Katechis’ restaurant concepts as well. Although Katechis no longer owns the brewery portion of Oskar Blues, he and his family retained four of the associated restaurants, in Longmont, Lyons, Denver and Colorado Springs. In the past, Oskar Blues has also run food trucks, a hamburger concept called ChuBurger and a Mexican restaurant.
Katechis couldn’t say yet what the food concept will be at 3rd Shot, but it will likely start out as a food trailer before morphing into a potential brick-and-mortar kitchen inside the building.
Eventually, the two would also like to build other co-located courts and restaurants around Colorado and in other states. “As we noticed in Lyons, Oskar Blues became a social hub in town,” Katechis pointed out. “For me, this is very similar to craft beer in that it brings people together.”