Jake Keeler l Brewers Supply Group
Jake Keeler has made the transition from Professor of Fine Arts to VP of Marketing for Brewers Supply Group. Read on to learn more about Keeler’s unlikely journey to and through the beverage industry.
Can you tell us a bit about your business and background?
I’m the VP of Marketing for BSG, which stands for Brewers Supply Group. BSG is a part of Rahr Corporation, which is headquartered in Shakopee, MN and also includes Rahr Malting Co., Gambrinus Malting, Bintani, Bevie, and Bushell Boy. With the exception of Bushell Boy, we are primary makers, processers and distributors of malt, hops, yeast and other ingredients used in brewing, wine making, distilling, cider making and all things beverage alcohol. Rahr has been in existence since 1847, and is still privately owned by the family, and run by 5th generation Willie Rahr as it’s CEO and President.
I oversee the marketing matters for all Rahr Corp. businesses but my primary focus is BSG. Through our six divisions - BSG CraftBrewing, BSG Wine, BSG Distilling, BSG HandCraft, BSG Hops and BSG Canada we have supplied craft brewers, winemakers, home fermentation retailers, craft distillers and cider makers throughout North America with premium ingredients at competitive prices since 2004. BSG has 13 distribution centers and assorted offices around North America.
My background is in fine arts, with a bachelors degree in studio art from Macalester College and a Masters of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Out of grad school I become a professor of art in the Twin Cities for a few years, then came by way of the brewing industry by taking a part time job at Northern Brewer in 2003, and eventually becoming their COO before leaving to work with BSG.
How do you think living in the Twin Cities has shaped your business?
I think the primary influence from this location/culture/geography is a sense of balance and a desire for sustainable and long-term success. I always see those qualities present in the Twin Cities in general, and I think that rubs off on companies and people’s career trajectories.
If you had one piece of advice for someone starting a business, what would it be?
Examine your ideas to identify when and where they fit. In that, I mean that timing and context are so important to initial success and momentum. Sometimes it’s the right idea at the wrong time, and it fizzles out…or it’s the wrong idea at the right time and it misfires. If one can do their best to take their shots at the most opportune time, that can be the difference maker. That means one needs to both have patience, and the ability to strike fast when needed; these qualities are not mutually exclusive.
LAB is founded on three key values: connect, create and collaborate. What are your three key values?
Observe (research). Strategy. Resource.
Know the idea, position the idea, and support the idea.
What are some of your everyday essentials that you can’t live without?
Water bottle, good socks, music, pen and paper.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Full time artist and/or Art Professor.
Any project that involves something long term where I can work with friends that I trust, respect and admire (artists, writers, musicians, companies, non-profits) – especially if the outcome is something that can help support a righteous cause.
Favorite place to meet/collaborate in the Twin Cities.
What’s currently binge watching or listening to?
Just finished the 2nd season of DARK on Netflix. Currently listening to the new albums from Torche, Baroness and sprinkling in the Malibu Ken album (Aesop Rock and Tobacco colab). Otherwise it’s always a rotation of doom metal, rock and hip hop.
Fantasy Dinner Party Guest List
My closest friends and families having a dinner around a campfire somewhere remote.
Instagram accounts you love to see in your feed.
Last Adventure: Crash Camp – 3 days of camping and fly fishing for smallmouth on the Wisconsin River
Next Adventure: Either fishing for Great Lakes steelhead on the Brule this Fall and/or chasing some Mako sharks on the fly with my buddy Dave sometime next Spring off the coast of San Diego.
Voted Most Likely To: Lead a project
Secret Skill: Whistling?
Yes Please: People that love and spread positive and constructive energy
Spirit Animal: Northern Pike
Brand You Can’t Live Without: Simms Fishing Products