Standing Stone Brewing Company

employee health and wellness

Why We Run

White Pasty Legs

Avert your gaze, you may go blind from the reflecting light (photo courtesy of R. Koning).

Nick gives us a glimpse at what the Wild Rogue Relay entails.  So sit down, grab a cold beer and read about other people working hard.  Because, really, that’s the best way to enjoy work.

When the Standing Stone running team (a.k.a Slaughterhouse 12) came to me last year and asked me to run in the Wild Rogue Relay, I was more than a little apprehensive about it.  Running long distances ranks somewhere near doing my taxes and cleaning my cat’s litter box in regards to things I would like to spend my time doing.

I’ve always excused myself from such activities by saying I was more of a sprinter, but, while true, it really had more to do with boredom. I’ve always felt running is a lot of the same thing: start running on pavement for 10 minutes, then move on to some running on gravel for 10 minutes, with a little trail running for about 10 minutes and finally, the run is capped off with a nice jaunt on pavement for 10 more minutes (just in case you missed it). There’s no Frisbee I’m chasing or “Free Beer” vendor I’m desperately sprinting towards, pint in hand.  In fact, all of those things I love about sprinting are perhaps the worst thing you can do while running distance, as you’ll likely injure yourself or run out of energy before you finish the run.  I have a newfound understanding for dogs on leashes, or stuck in cars; constantly waiting to be let loose and feel the exhilaration of running at full speed.

So you can understand my – what would you call it, complete and utter lack of any sort of interest in regards to any run that goes on for longer that two or three blocks?  Compound all of that with the fact that I work at a brewery – one that specializes in fried goodness and delicious desserts – and you’ve got the makings of one very unhappy runner.

And then I ran the Relay last year…

Truck Side

Getting Truck #1 ready for the next exchange (photo courtesy of L. Pfister)

…and confirmed pretty much everything I thought about running.  That crap is hard.  Each runner ran between 16 and 24 miles over the course of 34 hours.  Some runs were in the sweltering heat of the afternoon, while others took place in the eerie calm coolness of midnight.  None of the runners slept more than two or three hours during the event, testing the stamina and patience of everyone in the vans; because, let’s be honest, spending 30 hours straight in a vehicle with five other people lacking sleep has its ramifications.

Handoff Alex Nick

(photo courtesy of R. Koning)

That said, when I finished the relay, I found a part of me that I never knew existed: I was a distance runner.  And I had amazing teammates/co-workers/friends.  Of all the places I’ve had the pleasure (or displeasure) to work, Standing Stone has offered me some of the closest, lasting friendships I’ve ever had.  What kind of restaurant has twelve employees who enjoy each other’s company so much they’d actively choose to spend 30 hours straight with them, in the tight confines of a mini van where their only relief comes in the form of a seven mile run?

All of the excuses I made not to run were just that: excuses. I ran 18.1 miles, split in three different legs, without walking once.  This is coming from someone who hadn’t done a distance run since sophomore year P.E. (and failed miserably, I might add).

Why do people run in the first place? It’s a question I asked myself every time I spotted a sweaty runner while enjoying a nice, cold pint at the bar.  I ran not to have a good time, or to stay in shape,  or because I wanted to. I ran because they needed another runner and I was free.  All of my fears surfaced exactly how I expected: it was difficult, I was tired and, yes, I had visions of lounging by the pool with an ice-cold margarita in one hand and another ice-cold margarita in the other.  But something changed once I finished. I ran in the relay again this year because it was arduous.  Some of the best things in life are those that we have to grit our teeth for; to bear down and fight for that last reserve of energy.  It’s a wonderful feeling to complete something so grueling and terribly hard.

Truck 1 Night Shot

(photo courtesy of J. Donehower)

The satisfaction I felt for running that last fifty feet of my final leg was unlike anything else I’ve experienced, because I hit my limit a mile back but kept going. Anytime I wavered, my teammates would come through for me.  Whenever I’d feel that pang of pain biting at my motivation, my crew would summit a hill with Ride of the Valkyries blasting from a loud speaker Mad-Max-style-strapped to the top of a Ford F-250, and temporarily the Rogue River canyons would turn into my own personal concert hall.

Do I like distance running? Heavens, no.  I will, however, be running in the Wild Rogue Relay again next year. It was difficult, but it was also a blast. But naturally, I’ve gone into retirement: I need to make up for all these race-conscious decisions I’ve been making and eat a piece cheesecake with a pint or two, or thirty, to wash it down.

Celebrating Employee Wellness with ‘Cheers to Health’

Cheers to Health JPGEmployee health and wellness have always been at the top of our priority list at Standing Stone. This is why we’ve implemented several in-house wellness programs for our team over the years, including free bikes for employees, free yoga classes, discounts at the local YMCA, and countless company-sponsored race opportunities. Recently, we joined 200 other businesses around the U.S. in taking our wellness efforts a step further by joining the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Work@Health Program. Through this employer-based training program we are brewing up fun and creative strategies to prevent chronic illness and reduce injuries for our Standing Stone team.

Work@Health launched earlier this year with funds from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. The program aims to educate employees and their families about interventions that address chronic health conditions. So far, Standing Stone has dedicated nine months of training and development to create our in-house version of the program, Cheers to Health. With seed funding from Work@Health we launched our Stomp Out Stress portion of Cheers to Health in early October, and we’ll feature two more wellness focuses throughout the upcoming year.

With Stomp Out Stress, our goal is lessening stress for our staff with events and benefits that embrace a holistic approach to stress reduction. The program addresses preventing physical strain, decreasing financial anxiety, and tapping into relaxation techniques (including socializing with coworkers and volunteering) to improve the overall health of our team. So far, we’re having a great time!

Here’s our line-up of happenings and benefits for Stomp Out Stress, running October through November:

  • Movie Night for all employees and their families
  • In-house chair massages
  • On-site finance classes, including Budgeting 101 and Getting Out of Debt
  • Personalized stainless steel tumblers to encourage all-day hydration
  • Vouchers for yoga classes at Rasa Yoga Center of Medford and Ashland
  • All-employee volunteer project with Ashland Food Bank
  • Company-wide safety meeting to address knife skills, emergency preparedness, and stretching/exercises to reduce work-related stress and injuries.

Work@Health’s goals include increasing the understanding of training needs of employers, and improving employers’ level of knowledge and awareness of workplace health programs. The program also seeks to grow the number of workplace health programs in the U.S., and promote peer-to-peer community-based cooperation and mentoring. We’re thrilled to be a part of this innovative and progressive approach with Cheers to Health.

Stay tuned for details about our next Cheers to Health programs, and visit the CDC’s website for more info about benefits, how to get involved, and current program news. Cheers to health!

Photo Recap: Siskiyou Challenge 2014

startWe came, we saw, we…okay, so maybe we didn’t conquer, but we had a great time at the Siskiyou Challenge! This multi-sport relay took place last Saturday, September 20th at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, and over 300 racers showed up to bike, run and paddle around Ashland. For our part, Standing Stone contributed 18 racers on three teams, as well as beer and tacos at the finish line for all participants.

Here were the Standing Stone racing teams for 2014, along with their overall finishing times:

captain planetCaptain Planet and the Planeteers (total time: 4 hours, 45 minutes)

stones of anarchy




Stones of Anarchy (total time: 4 hours, 46 minutes)

fast and flabbiest




Fast and the Flubbiest (total time: 5 hours, 10 minutes)

Congrats to the first place team, Whyte Nynshas, with a total time of 3 hours, 26 minutes. And job well-done to the Lesser Roadrunners, the winners of this year’s costume contest! We’re a little sad none of our teams were chosen, but we’re more motivated than ever for next year. Maybe we’ll have costumes we can actually race in? No promises.

A big thank you to the organizers, Rogue Valley Farm to School, and all the enthusiastic volunteers. This was a zero-waste event, with compost and recycle stations, as well as reusable glassware for beverages. We’re grateful for the participants returning pint glasses and using appropriate waste bins for leftover food and napkins. When we all pitch in our efforts, we can make sure great events like these don’t generate excess trash – a win-win for all!

Check out the Siskiyou Challenge website for a complete list of race results, and our Facebook page for an entire race photo album. We hope to see even more racers at the event next September!beer pourbraclet transfer

By in Employees & Partners 0

The Family Stone: Behind the Scenes Photos

At Standing Stone Brewing Company we have a lot of fun at work. Like, a lot of fun. Besides the beer and food, it’s one of the great perks of being a part of the “Family Stone,” as we like to call it. Throughout our adventures at the brewery, group races, relays and events we’ve collected a fair amount of photos that we have stored away in an online album, and it’s about time we share a few. Some of these silly, fun characters are now Standing Stone alumni, but most us are here planning new group activities and adventures all the time.

Here are some of our favorite group moments from the last year:

Mark and Gina race to the top of the boat ramp during the 2013 Siskiyou Challenge Relay Race. Standing Stone entered four teams with 24 total employees! These two are from teams “Sparkle Motion” and “Sun’s Out, Guns Out.”

mark and gina

Nick scored pink girl sunglasses somewhere for our bike ride in the 2014 4th of July parade. Co-owners Alex and Danielle Amarotico were chosen as this year’s Grand Marshals, and we cruised our Standing Stone commuter bikes along the route behind them. 

nick sunglasses

Get your workout on! With really good food and beer so readily available, a few of us decided a Standing Stone Bootcamp was in order. Check out those lean, mean muscles.


(photo: N. Blakeslee)


Yep, we work out in the wintertime, too.

workout group

(photo: N. Blakeslee)


We had a fantastic crew working the 2014 Winter Beer Dinner at Standing Stone. Six courses and three hours later, here we are taking a little break and showing each other some love at the end.FOH huddle

And here’s the kitchen crew that brought you all those amazing courses. Don’t let those crossed arms fool you – these folks get giddy about preparing a beautiful and thoughtful plate of food.BOH huddle

Whoa there, Easy Rider. Did you know Standing Stone has a Brammo electric motorcycle? If you haven’t heard, it’s because the hum of the battery-powered engine is so quiet. It’s perfect for quick trips to and from our One Mile Farm, and errands around Ashland.alex on bike

The “Family Stone” and others after our annual Turkey Day football game.  (For NFL scouts reading this blog, please show up at 7am sharp for some awe-inspiring football). 

Thanksgiving Day Football

(photo: N. Blakeslee)

Last month we entered a 12-person team in the Wild Rogue Relay Race, and poured Standing Stone brews at the end in Gold Beach for all the racers. Our team name: Slaughterhouse 12 (yes, those are lamb costumes).

wild rogue group

(photo: N. Blakeslee)

Here are a few more hooligans from the 2013 Siskiyou Challenge Relay Race…siskiyou challenge tanks…and a few more still.sisk challenge

And at the end of the day, what we like to do best is sit down with friends and enjoy craft beer. gina sienna

We may have left out some photos of mountain bike rides, group runs, volleyball, and frisbee golf, but we’ll continue to bring our cameras along when we can. Watch out for more Standing Stone shenanigans in the future, just for the fun of it.



Photo Recap: Siskiyou Challenge Relay 2013

One of our favorite Ashland events of the year has come and gone, but luckily we have plenty of photos to reminisce about thedavey chava 4th Annual Siskiyou Challenge. On a rare, non-rainy day Saturday we had 24 Standing Stone employees participate in the six-leg, multi-sport relay. We also manned the food and beverage station at the finish line, offering free lunch and beer to all the racers (and cherry lemonade for those not-quite-ready for an early afternoon brew).

Our house photographer, George Rubaloff, was on hand as usual capturing team group shots and some of our favorite moments of the day – and, believe us, there were lots. Here is a preliminary photo recap of the 2013 Siskiyou Challenge, and we’ll post even more pictures on our Facebook page in the coming week.

The 2013 Standing Stone Brewing Company teams were:

Sparkle Motion14th place Mixed Teamteam sparkle motion







The Bearded LadiesThe jury is still out on when they finished…team bearded ladies







Steel-Cut Sheriffs16th place Mixed Teamteam steel-cut







Sun’s Out, Guns Out12th place Mixed Teamteam suns out guns out






Anna Rose

A big CONGRATULATIONS to all the participants in Saturday’s event! It was a big group (300+ racers and fans) of enthusiastic and fun-loving athletes. We want to thank Rogue Valley Farm to School for putting on the relay and organizing the routes, volunteers, vendors, prizes and more. To learn more about this great Southern Oregon organization visit their website and see all they do in our serve

As promised, stay tuned for even more photos. And if you stop by the restaurant, ask your bartender or server if they ran, biked or kayaked in a leg of the race. You might hear a good story or two: Trent getting lost for a few miles, Carolyn passing bikers twice, Davey losing his breakfast, Josh and Elliot’s short shorts…

Saddle Up for Bike Commute Challenge in September

Every September we get in gear with biking events at Standing Stone Brewing Co. Our motivation this month stems from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s Bike Commute Challenge, encouraging employees at workplaces all over Oregon to bike to work and log collective miles. We participate annually and come up with a few incentives and events of our own to make September one of the best biking months of the year!commuter bike

Here’s how the Bike Commute Challenge works: Anyone can register their workplace for free at Participating employees log their trips and miles on an online calendar, which keeps track of totals and automatically enters members into weekly drawings. Businesses and groups can challenge each other to log the most miles, and at the end of the month the BTA ranks businesses by percentage of bike commutes and announces the winning companies at a big After Party in Portland in October.

We have all our Standing Stone Commuter-riding coworkers signed up, and bike teewe’re celebrating in a few ways of our own, too. For the month of September you’ll see brewery servers in our signature “Powered By Beer” bike tees. Come get one of your own to show your love of biking and beer! We’re also holding a weekly in-house raffle for employees who ride round-trip to work, and throwing a big grand prize drawing at the end of the month. Sorry, fans, employees only!

We’re also thrilled to announce we have seven new bikes coming to employees this week. These coworkers have been with Standing Stone for the minimum 1,000 total hours and promise to ride their new Trek bikes to and from the brewpub at least 45 times in the first year. After that, the bike is theirs to keep. This brings our total fleet to 57 bikes, growing from just 17 when we launched the program in 2009.

Lastly, our chef, Eric Bell, has recently been trained as a League of Americanbike rack Bicyclists certified instructor. All our new Standing Stone Commuter bike recipients will go through a required training with Eric later this month, and all employees wanting a refresher course will join the group as well. We’re looking forward to having on-site knowledge about safe biking practices and we’ll be sure to tap Eric’s brain for tips and ideas for biking around town.

Join in the fun by biking with us all month long! September weather makes for great riding conditions almost any time of day, and our latest specialty beer – Commuters Gold Ale – makes a great finish to any biking trip. We think the physical, psychological and environmental benefits of commuting by bike make it the preferred method of transportation for our coworkers, so expect to see lots of us two-wheeling it to and from the brewpub and using the big, yellow bike rack out front.

Upcoming Rogue Valley Races (with Beer at the Finish Line)

There was a recent article in Time Magazine called ‘Just Brew It‘ about the new trend of pairing craft beer with more than food – joining the love of beer with the love of the outdoors and activities like cycling, running and rafting (our friends at Southern Oregon Brewing in Medford, OR were mentioned in the article for a local rafting & beer tasting package). We couldn’t agree more, and we’re bottling up our enthusiasm for a few of our favorite upcoming athletic events in Southern Oregon. Here’s what’s on our radar for summer races that Standing Stone participates in and sponsors every year, and we encourage you to get involved, too!

Mt Ashland Hillclimb Run, August 10th: This 13.3-mile race climbs over 5,600 feet IMGP0312_edited-1in altitude, placing finishers at the summit of Mt. Ashland. We’re amazed with the athletes who complete this hot-weather feat, so much that we serve free beer at the top for all the racers! In fact, we engrave the names of each year’s male and female winners on a commemorative trophy keg to be served from at the finish line and then displayed at Standing Stone year-round. We also throw in $10 gift certificates so the runners can come in and relax with a brew and food when they return to Ashland’s 1,900’ altitude.

Registration is closed as this race is already completely sold out, but you can always join us in cheering on the racers (including three Standing Stone runners) at the lodge on Mt. Ashland, and motivate yourself to attempt this challenging race in 2014!

Siskiyou Challenge Relay Race, September 28th: This six-leg, multi-sport relay isteam 3 in its fourth year and we’ve been at the finish line serving food and beer at every one! We also have several Standing Stone employee teams participate each year, with last year marking a new personal record for us with four teams consisting of 24 total coworkers. We particularly love this race because it mixes exercise with tons of fun, and it supports one of our favorite local organizations, Rogue Valley Farm to School. Festivities start and end at ScienceWorks museum here in Ashland, and there will be vendors, live music, food and brews for all the finishers. Registration is now open, so gather your team of runners, bikers and kayakers today!

(By the way, we always have an in-house costume contest for our racers at the Siskiyou Challenge, and organizers encourage you to have fun with your team uniforms, too! You can see our blog post from last year with photos of all our teams for some fun inspiration.)

We hope to see you at both of these awesome Rogue Valley events, and encourage you to get involved with other athletic events in your area. We agree that ‘just brew it’ is a great theme for summertime fun – afterall, what better way to reward yourself after outdoor activities than with a cold beer?

By in Events 0

Slaughterhouse 12 Races 213 Miles in Wild Rogue Relay

We sent twelve of our fast and furious Standing Stone employees to the Wild Rogue Relay last weekend, and our runners had a fantastic time! Thirty-six legs and 213 miles later, Standing Stone’s “Slaughterhouse Twelve” came in 9th place wildroguerelayout of 35 12-person teams. Congrats to all our awesome runners!

The course ran along the Wild and Scenic Rogue River from the Applegate to Gold Beach, OR. Course legs varied between 3.5 and 8.9 miles, with all twelve runners doing three legs each. The trail was filled with significant elevation gain and loss, with the highest peak at 3,900 feet and the finish line at sea level.

The following members of Standing Stone’s Slaughterhouse Twelve (team name in honor of our brewery’s chicken processing facility in which we bring our poultry from farm to kitchen) came in at a total time of 30 hours and 27 minutes, averaging an 8.5 minute-mile overall:slaughterhouse run




David K








Shey (Standing Stone alumni)

To tap into even more fun for the event, Standing Stone sponsored the race with a free beer for runners and volunteers at the finish line in Gold Beach. What better way to end 213 miles of running, after all? Check out the video on Facebook of our final runner coming in to the Curry County Fairgrounds (the runner in the chicken headdress is David), with the rest of our team members chasing him in.

Thank you Lithia Nissan for sponsoring and hosting the Wild Rogue Relay – we had a blast and you can count us in for 2014’s event. Happy running everyone!

(above photo: Alex Amarotico)

By in Community, Events 0

Snapshot of Siskiyou Challenge 2012

September 22nd, 2012 marked one of our favorite outdoor events of the year – the Siskiyou Challenge Relay Race. This community event, benefiting Rogue Valley Farm to School, hosted over 50 teams that competed in a six-leg, multi-sport relay. Over 250 racers ran, biked and kayaked their way all around Ashland, OR to the finish line in downtown Lithia Park.

This year, Standing Stone entered four teams comprised of 24 employees – our record participation! We made sure to take team photos so we could look back on all the great uniforms.

Team 1 – Let’s Get Physical:

Nick Blakeslee, Server – 13K road bike
Carolyn Stone, Server – 3K kayak
Brandon Schilling, Sustainability Coordinator – 31K road bike
Jackie Case, Server – 10K run
Ace Harvey, Line Cook – 14K mountain bike
Lindsay Wiegel , Server – 5K run

Team 2 – Stone Villagers:

Ismael Garcia Nava Jr., Line Cook – 13K road bike
Roberto Ambriz, Line Cook – 3K kayak
Javier Cruz-Paso, Manager – 31K road bike
Salvador Cruz-Paso, Lead Prep Cook – 10K run
Miguel Garcia Orosco, Line Cook – 14K mountain bike
Alex Amarotico, Co-owner – 5K run

Team 3 – Half Pints:

Danielle Amarotico, Co-owner – 13K road bike
Marina Spelletich-Pecoraro, Server – 3K kayak
Melza Quinn, Manager – 31K road bike
Laura Pfister, Server – 10K run
Matt Nunes, Server – 14K mountain bike
Ashley Nunes, Graphic Designer – 5K run

Team 4 – Out of Towners:

David Conley, Server – 13K road bike
Michael Nelson, Server – 3K kayak
Josh Nielsen, Server – 31K road bike
David Kramer, Server – 10K run
Elliot Stone, Server – 14K mountain bike
Katie Rinaker, Server – 5K run

The entrance fees for this family-friendly race went to Rogue Valley Farm to School, a local organization that connects classrooms with farms through  hands-on farm visits and in-class lessons, as well as bringing local foods into school cafeterias. This is one of our favorite Southern Oregon nonprofits and we’re thrilled to be a part of this organization’s fun, athletic event!

We also had Standing Stone employees pouring cold beer and lemonade and serving sack lunches at the finish line for all the racers. This year, we sweetened our offerings with caramel apples for the finishers of the 1.4 mile Fun Run, too. Other food sponsors for the race included Rogue Valley Roasting Company, serving early morning coffee and treats, and the Ashland Food Co-op, making sure the racers were well-fed at the pre-race dinner at Emigrant Lake.

Be sure to let the coordinators know how much you enjoyed the event if you were there. We had a full day of great exercise, team work and good old-fashioned fun, and you’ll see us at the Siskiyou Challenge again next year!

By in Employees & Partners 1

Employee Spotlight: Standing Stone Yoga Instructor Lindsey Holy

At Standing Stone, we think a focus on wellness makes for happy employees! Last year we talked with Standing Stone server and yoga instructor, Lindsey Holy, about the launch of  Standing Stone’s “Tap Into You” employee wellness program. Initiated last summer, this program aims to spur employee participation in weekly yoga sessions by sponsoring classes and offering incentives for frequent participation – a free Standing Stone, hops-themed yoga mat after completing 12 sessions.

Since we loved Lindsey’s post about starting the program last year, we asked her to update us on her personal yoga practice and give us some insight into how yoga cheers her day, on and off the clock.

What kind of yoga are you teaching currently?

My teaching reflects the core values of the Krishnamacharya lineage with lots of fun modern day influence and infusion. The combination of Astanga Primary Series and Modern Vinyasa Flow sequencing is a perfect platform for me to draw inspiration from. I like my classes to be both physically challenging and thought provoking. I enjoy bringing my students safely to their edge and watching them in conversation with their own mind and body. It’s a powerful thing to witness and reminds me over and over that I am exactly where I need to be, doing exactly what I’m meant to do.

What keeps you motivated to practice everyday?

I have met my practice in love. I have met my practice in resistance. No matter where I am in my day or in my life, I practice because I believe that what I’m doing is so much greater than my emotions, my moods, my good and/or bad days.

What are some of the fun things you’re doing with yoga?

Photo: Lindsey Holy

This month I am hosting a 30 day challenge for my students, a few of whom are Standing Stone employees! 30 days of practice in 30 days. The idea behind this challenge is not only make a firm commitment and stick to it, but also to notice the excuses we use to get out of commitments. Honestly, I can’t think of anything more important than taking time out of your day to mindfully connect to yourself and release anything not serving you. Why is it so easy for us to say, “Ah, I’m too tired” or, “I don’t want to wake up early today”? We listen to these patterns, we watch and we learn. That’ true practice.

I’m always looking to make classes fun. By sticking to my personal practice and continued education, I bring in new and fresh ideas to class all the time. From music to sequencing, you’ll rarely, if ever, have the same class twice with me.

What are your personal goals for your own practice in the next year?

My goal with yoga is the same day in and day out – to release tension so that I am able to show up in my life every singe day. I believe it’s important to check in with one’s self and ask, “How am I showing up in my life?”  It’s imperative to recognize what things are coming between you and yourself, and the answer is more often than not related to some form of tension. So I practice to release the excess tension, expectations, and thoughts I have about myself and others, and instead make my self available to what’s truly going on around me – beautiful life.

Where can people take a yoga class from you?

I’m teaching here in the Rogue Valley, both at the Rasa Yoga Studios of Medford and Ashland, and Om Sweet Om in Talent.

Thanks for sharing, Lindsey!  For more on Lindsey’s style, inspirations, and more great photos you can visit Lindsey’s website, too.