Jake Keeler, vice president of marketing for Brewers Supply Group, based in Shakopee, Minnesota, changed from a career in arts and teaching after becoming a home-brewer.
"I really got into it and it opened up the door to craft beer and breweries. It was fascinating to learn where all the ingredients came from and how you made beer."
BSG, a subsidiary of Rahr, bills itself as a one-stop shop for everyone from people who want to try to brew their own beer for the first time to the biggest and best-known craft breweries in the United States and around the world.
"We're a supplier of premium and select ingredients to make beer, spirits and wine" Keeler said. "That encompasses everything from fermentation aids to yeast but primarily it's malt and hops. The one thing we don't sell is the water."
Yet water is crucial to BSG's business today and tomorrow. "Oktoberforest is a perfect fit for us. Agricultural products from all over the world go into making beer. You cannot make good beer with dirty water. We also need water to produce all the products that we make."
BSG's parent company has a wastewater treatment system on site to reduce costs and improve water quality. Along with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux, Rahr co-owns Koda Energy, a combined heat and power plant that provides electrical and thermal energy by burning primarily agricultural byproducts.
"We're always looking at ways to reduce waste and recycle the materials we use," Keeler said. "We have to be a good steward of the environment."