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Secret Lives of OhioHealth

Strengthening Community Over a Brew or Two

Let's be real: Even when you love your job, you probably still look forward to the end of the workday.

For associates at OhioHealth O'Bleness Hospital in Athens, there's a must-stop spot between work and home – Little Fish Brewing Company. It's a third place, where the sense of community continues late into the evening as associates, family and friends gather to connect over a cold one.

For Keely Stockwell, a Marketing and Communications manager at O'Bleness Hospital, and wife and brand consultant to Jimmy Stockwell, co-founder of Little Fish, the brewery has become more than a family affair. It's a blended approach to work-life harmony that fosters the much-needed community of Athens.

"In a small town like ours, a business like Little Fish is a really important part of the culture," said Stockwell. "People come to gather, celebrate and just be together. It's what we do."

That's why her fellow associates make the one-mile drive from O'Bleness Hospital to Little Fish after work to strengthen team relationships over a craft brew. The family-friendly environment is a perfect place to reflect on the day.

"There's such a benefit to knowing the people you work with outside the office," said Stockwell. "It can help build trust, making for a better work environment by day."

Little Fish Brewing Company opened in summer 2015 during Ohio Brew Week, on more than two acres of lush green space along Armitage Road.

"There's no place like it in Athens!" said Stockwell. "We love our small-town lifestyle, and we really want the business to stay small so we can better serve our community."

Little Fish patrons can enjoy a brew-garden-style patio during the warmer months, overlooking a hops arbor, fruit trees, bike path and city-owned reclaimed wetland. An inviting indoor taproom welcomes customers year-round with more than 30 home brews on tap at a time, sporting cheeky names like Beets on Repeat, Pawpaw Weitzen and Reinheitsgewhat!? Rose.

The brewery's meticulous efforts and unmatched creativity have really paid off. Little Fish has won several prestigious awards, including the:

  • 2016 World Beer Cup Gold Award in the Belgian- and French-style Ale category
  • Athens News Reader's Choice Award's Best New Business
  • RateBeer's 2015 and 2016 Best New Brewery in Ohio

The brewery also distributes to a wide variety of brew houses and vendors in Ohio and Kentucky with ever-expanding reach.

Despite the venture's impressive success in only four years, Little Fish leaders maintain a farmhouse mentality, committed to brewing world-class beer while sustainably supporting local economies.

You're invited! Come tap into the community building at Little Fish Brewing Company.

This story was originally published in an internal OhioHealth associate publication.


OhioHealth is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, charitable, healthcare outreach of the United Methodist Church.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, OhioHealth has been recognized as one of the top five large health systems in America by Truven Health Analytics, an honor it has received six times. It is also recognized by Fortune as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” and has been for 13 years in a row, 2007–2019.

Serving its communities since 1891, OhioHealth is a family of 30,000 associates, physicians and volunteers, and a system of 12 hospitals and more than 200 ambulatory sites, hospice, home health, medical equipment and other health services spanning a 47-county area.

OhioHealth hospitals include OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Hardin Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Marion General Hospital, OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, OhioHealth Shelby Hospital, OhioHealth Grove City Methodist Hospital and OhioHealth Berger Hospital. For more information, please visit