Karben4 is Madison's newest brewery and was founded by Appleton, WI natives who have been graciously adopted by the Madison community.
The brewmaster, Ryan Koga, was previously working as the head brewer at Yellowstone Valley Brewing Company (YVBC) in Billings, MT. Ryan moved from Wisconsin to Montana to earn his Masters degree in athletic training and fell in love with beer while working on the bottling line at YVBC to pay the bills. In short order, Ryan became a brewer, the head brewer, and before long was known for his seasonal beers and his bright cartoon personality. If Ryan were a lunch meat, he would be roast beef.
The business-end of Karben4 is handled by lifelong friends Alex Evans and Zak Koga. The duo's entrepreneurial history dates back to their senior year of high school where they were Co-Presidents of their entrepreneurship class. Alex graduated from Marquette University before working at M&I Bank's corporate headquarters in downtown Milwaukee, WI. After a few years of helping companies structure and obtain financing for their projects, Alex headed to UCLA to pursue a graduate degree in creative writing. He and Zak stayed in close contact and a lot of their discussion centered around discerning business opportunities. If Alex were a weapon, he would be a musket.
Zak Koga is Ryan's younger brother and half of the business effort at Karben4. Zak is the group's link to Madison as he graduated from UW-Madison and has lived in Madison since 2004. He and Ryan had been discussing a family brewery for a few years at the same time as he and Alex were making a hobby of writing business plans. A twist of fate, if you will... In his day job, Zak manages commercial construction projects for Findorff in Madison and Milwaukee. If Zak were an animal he would be a bear.
Tom Kowalke is Karben4's resident artist. Tom is the longtime friend of Alex and Zak and also has intermittently lived in the Madison area for several years. Tom was brought into the Karben4 project with a challenge from Alex and Zak to brainstorm what this company may look like. His invaluable participation in Karben4 has lead to our logo, our artwork in the taproom and the physical appearance of the taproom itself. He also provides major street cred as, "the bartender that looks like Bradley Cooper." If Tom were a garnishment, he would be sauerkraut.
-Karben4's mission is to provide enrichment to our community and customers by way of providing balanced, malt-centric ales