G4 Kegs (formerly Gopher Kegs) is a global distributor of stainless steel kegs to the craft beverage industry — but what they do goes far beyond containers. They act as a keg consultant to their clients, helping brewhouses seize opportunity, find efficiencies, and elevate their craft.
We met the G4 team — Brian Keyser, Emma Shepanek, and Max Shepanek — when they had just recently acquired the business. Brian was an experienced operator, having navigated a successful exit from his former company, Oil Can Henry’s, when they were purchased by Valvoline. Brian and his team knew they had something special with G4, but that some elbow grease would be required to bring the company to the next phase of its evolution.
We had just acquired [Gopher Kegs]. We knew there was a lot the company needed to do to really ‘become a business.’ We needed someone to help us take it to the next level. Kinesis was attractive because of their focus on fundamentals — on building the right foundation for the business. It came down to a philosophical synergy. Kinesis does business the right way — a way that really resonated true with me.
To start, we worked with the G4 Kegs leadership team to build a brand that would communicate their commitment to quality products and meaningful partnerships. We transformed their business identity, starting with a name change from Gopher Kegs to a more sophisticated G4 Kegs. Using the theme of intercontinental travel, the new G4 brand harkens back to a time when ordinary people made extraordinary things possible. This brand was expressed in a sophisticated new website that more effectively told their story.
I look back at the time when we went through the mission, values, our brand, all of that. Even though we accomplished it quickly due to some time constraints, it wasn’t done haphazardly. It was still done well. We really worked together to dig out the core of who we wanted the company to be. I look back at that process incredibly pleased about the whole thing and what we accomplished.
This approach was a major success for the business, which went on to gain new customers and capture market share. With craft breweries cropping up on every corner, the industry was healthy, and we helped G4 accelerate their upward trajectory. Business was good.
But, as with any business, you must expect the unexpected. In 2019, the keg industry faced a myriad of new challenges as new tariffs were levied on imported stainless steel products. On top of that, the Department of Commerce also imposed duties on kegs from certain countries — G4’s manufacturer among them.
We worked closely with the G4 team to get through this tumultuous time, positioning the company as an educator and a resource to their customers, and leading the charge among their competition with communication around their pricing structure.
Fortunately, before this period, Kinesis had also helped G4 to shore up internal processes and fuel sales conversations with tools that positioned them as a resource beyond a single transaction… so that once the dust settled after 2019, they arose as an industry leader.
Kinesis works collaboratively. They are not going to come up with an idea and jam it down your throat. It’s working together to find the solution, the direction, and a lot of the tactics. They’re very thoughtful. Very deliberate. Very strategic. Even when I say, ‘Quick, let’s get something done,’ it’s ‘We’ve got to do this right.’
Even amidst industry turmoil, G4 has held strong as the leading distributor of kegs in North America — maintaining their footing even as others in their space have scaled back or closed their doors entirely. With a solid sales and marketing infrastructure and a loyal customer base, they are well positioned to continue to weather any storms that may come.
We’ve accomplished a lot — if I look at just pure sales volume, we’ve definitely had some success there. We’ve reached into some new markets, and we’re grabbing new customers, which is a huge accomplishment for us.
I can look at the mission and values and say, ‘Yeah. That reflects me.’ It’s not just a bunch of words. It resonates with a lot of people — we put it in all our open positions, and a lot of people are impressed by the company because of it. We receive a lot of compliments. It has served a great purpose not only as a way of helping people understand who we really are, but also as a guidepost for us managing the business.
From testifying on the industry’s behalf in front of the federal government to facing trade wars and relocating the business HQ… it’s safe to say that the G4 leadership team didn’t have any of this in mind when they purchased the business. But at Kinesis, we know that winners take the long view, hold a steady gaze, and advance the business in good times and in bad. We’re proud to be a part of G4’s continued journey, and will work hard to ensure they remain positioned to face whatever comes next.
It’s the small things that have meant a lot. The fact that at any moment I could pick up the phone and connect with anyone on the Kinesis team. Just the accessibility has been important. It really demonstrates to me that we’re truly valued as a client. Kinesis will make time for us, we don’t just pay the bills. We’re in this as a partnership and they value the relationship.
– Brian Keyser, President
If Kinesis sounds like the partner you’ve been looking for, let’s talk.
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