073: What’s your favorite beer with Zak Koga

About Zak Koga

Zak Koga is the co-founder of Karben4 Brewing where he operates the business on a daily basis. His education is in engineering and he worked for Findforff after college until the point at which he founded the brewery with his brother and best friend. His last complete construction project before making the jump over to Karben4 was the Moderne – a high-rise building across the street from the Bucks arena in Milwaukee.


How does someone go from construction to owning a brewery? (00:56)

“I never really planned on owning a brewery, you know at the outside of my life and as I went through college. But you know I really think it was sort of an opportunistic thing.”


What is the beer market like? What is your approach to it? (4:35)

The beer market is pretty wild right now. We’ve kind of said lately, I don’t know if we’d start Karben4 again today. There is more room for craft, there is a lot more things that are going on, there is so much more good work to do. There’s stuff that were growing and chasing. Its not that there is not opportunity there, but it is a very different opportunity now then it was in 2012.”


What is your favorite beer? (8:18)

“Of the beers we make, Tokyo Sauna, I would probably say is my favorite.”


Share with us one of your best networking stories (14:14)

“…so, my story would be impressing a guy named Don Hawkins, and he goes by hawk. He was sort of the grandfather of baseball in Appleton where I’m from. I don’t know the full history, but he feels like the founder of the three collegiate baseball clubs up there, which is the summer high school baseball program for Appleton…”


How do you stay in front of your network or community? (19:00)

“…getting out in front of beer dinners, or last night we had an event where we let a bar have an exclusive first crack at a keg. So, we go down there to hangout and talk to people and have a couple beers. So, it is a very social line of work.”


What advice do you have for business professionals looking to grow their networks? (21:47)

“Look at the network as less transactionally, less as like this task. I think in this big to do check off sort of thing, I think I mentioned earlier that, you know networking is really just making friends, which is really just sort of living as a human being.”


Digital networking or traditional networking? (25:46)

“I don’t really think of networking as networking, you know I’m just trying to look for people I like and want to associate myself with in general. And people where I feel like I can be apart of the equation and add value and learn from them. So, I think that works out better traditionally, which to me is like in person, however, you would meet.”


If you could go back 20 years, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of regarding your career? (32:16)

“I think my 20-year-old would kick my ass, I don’t know if have a lot of advice for my 20-year-old self… Maybe I would tell myself your only 20, enjoy it a little bit. Because you realize how easy you have it. I think I thought I was doing more then I really was, and I was over estimating how busy I was.”


We’ve all heard of the 6 degrees of separation… Now, who would be the person you’d love to connect with and do you think you could do it within the 6th degree? (37:10)

 “I hope this isn’t too cliché, but I think it would be really fun to connect with Elon Musk… He’s one of these all-time entrepreneurs that just refuses to accept the status quo.”


What book are you reading right now? (40:25)

“Right now, I’m rereading a book, one of the few books I read in college was Dale Carnegies ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’.”


Any final words of advice for our listeners? (44:05)

“Be generous, give the world more then what you take form it.”




You can get in contact with Zak at:

Find him on LinkedIn and karben4.com