It's been said that a Renaissance mind of true brilliance—able to upturn the very foundation upon which society is built—only presents itself once every couple of generations. Is it something in the water? Or could it just be the aligning of the stars?
Whatever the case may be, it turns out that Blake Konrardy just might have that kind of mind. That, or he's batshit crazy.
The Illinois resident and former employee of an insurance company decided to leave everything behind—he says he even turned down Harvard Law School—to bet it all on his undying desire to combine pleasure and pain: "Ultimately, you have to find something you are truly passionate about. For me, that is the intersection of your workout and your weekend."
That passion, ridiculous as it might initially sound, led Konrardy to chase the dream of a "fitness beer" revolution. He started Supplemental Brewing, a fitness-oriented brewery with protein-fortified beers, and is currently trying to Kickstart his venture. He's also looking for a suitable brewery to partner with in the hopes of bringing Brewtein and NutriBeer—the two beer lines he has developed—to the totally swole and inebriated masses.
We spoke to Konrardy in the hopes of unearthing, once and for all, whether this man is humanity's greatest gift or its greatest plight.
MUNCHIES: So, how the hell did you end up conceiving the idea for a fitness-oriented beer? It's certainly a unique concept, but I'm not quite sure people would immediately feel the need for such a thing. Blake Konrardy: Valid question! My workouts are important to me, so I like to sneak in some weight-lifting after work even when I'm planning to have some drinks with the guys on a Friday night. I always drink a protein shake after my workout, so I was actually alternating sips between my shake and my beer. Yes, I am not proud to admit that I was "double-fisting" a beer and a protein shake. After constantly getting called out by my buddies, I realized that there had to be a better way, so I started experimenting.
Do you have a brewing or fitness background? If not, why did you feel the need to go into such an industry as cutthroat as beer brewing? I don't have a background in the brewing industry, but I have been homebrewing for a few years now. Actually, at this point, most of my homebrews have contained protein. I also am big into weight-lifting and have put on 25 pounds in the last two years. Most people are probably wondering why anyone would want to gain that much weight, but when you're a skinny guy at 6'4" and 150 pounds, getting up to 175 is a big accomplishment. So no professional background in either beer or fitness, but I am very passionate about both.
Is it your intention to have customers drink your beers before or after they are working out? Are you worried that you could be held liable for any possible workout injuries? I can't say that I've ever personally worked out after drinking beer, which is probably a good thing since I normally lift right after my work day is over. I wouldn't recommend it, but to each their own. I will say there is a big difference between having a few drinks playing softball, which is a great time, and downing a six-pack before attempting your max bench press. I wouldn't recommend the latter.
What do you feel are the major distinctions between your Brewtein line and your NutriBeer line? Bodybuilders and fitness fanatics will understand the concept of "bulking" and "cutting" periods. Bulking is when you are gaining weight to put on muscle mass, and cutting is shedding the extra fat that you put on. With that in mind, Brewtein is more of our bulking beer, and NutriBeer is more of our cutting beer. The calorie difference is inherent in the styles. Brewtein falls in the wheat ale style, which, as you can see on our website, comes with a significant amount of carbs regardless of brand. NutriBeer, on the other hand, is a light lager, which appeals to folks who aren't looking for as strong of a flavor or as many calories. The tastes and calorie makeups are completely different, and we thought it was important to offer a couple options right away.
Assuming you do successfully crowdfund and launch, are you eventually aiming to stop relying on brewing partners and start a brewery of your own? I think that's the goal of every startup brewing company, and ours is no different. Having your own brewery means additional control over the process and equipment so you can make your beer just the way you like. I'm also already dreaming of a protein focused brew-pub, with one of our main dishes being chicken-crust Mexican pizza (100 times more delicious than it sounds, with low carbs!).
Thanks for speaking with us, Blake.