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Beer brothers

By MARTIN HINTZ
Photos by Dan Bishop

March 2014

Tommy, Robin, Jimmy and Andy Gohsman started the new craft beer company, 4 Brothers Blended Beer Co.

Four brothers of German and Irish descent starting a craft beer business? It’s really not too much of a stretch, they say. "No ancestors that we know of are brewers, but beer drinking is in our bloodline," says Jimmy Gohsman, 28, who acts as brewmaster for the new 4 Brothers Blended Beer Co. in Waukesha.

Gohsman graduated from Denver’s Regis University with a degree in psychology, spending his downtime as a "student" of Colorado’s craft beer scene. He subsequently toured breweries around the state to get a better understanding of differences and nuances from style to style. The next logical step was making it himself. From there, he got his other brothers involved, launching their operation early in 2013.

Gohsman handles the day-to-day operations, while his siblings — Andy, 26, Tommy, 33, and Robin, 34 — stay in touch through emailing, texting and conference calls. "We set goals together and make any operating decisions as a group," he explains. "We’re very analytical, so decisions are weighed with pros and cons; 99 percent of the time we’re on the same page, which makes it easy.

"There is the rare occasion that one of us is in disagreement with the rest. In that case we do what most professionals would — make fun of him for being off point and continue on," Gohsman says.

Titles aren’t of import to the brothers, who are all working on the same goal, Gohsman says. "Egos don’t really get in the way of that. After all, we’re all gentlemen," laughs Gohsman, referring to their website, which asserts they are "Gentlemen. Creators. and Beer drinkers."

"The drinking part is probably the easiest. We’ve got decent palates and love a cold fermented beverage" Gohsman says. As for being gentlemen, he says he and his brothers were fortunate to be raised well. They learned the importance of holding doors open for people, standing up when a woman is arriving or leaving a table and standing up to shake someone’s hand. "Giving back to the community is also essential," he adds.

Although there are a lot of challenges in breaking into any market, 4 Brothers went statewide early this year. They started by self-distributing to focus on building relationships with vendors and continue networking within the industry. The demand quickly outgrew their capabilities, so the brothers partner with a distributor to be sure their Sibling Rivalry, Relative Madness, Prodigal Son and 4 Brothers beers find the proper market niche.

Coming up with those titles is probably the most difficult process of their entire operation, according to Gohsman. "We wanted each name to maintain that family theme, but at the same time connect a bit with the actual beer," he explains. The firm wants to increase its current output of 160 barrels per month, contracting with Sand Creek Brewing Co. in Black River Falls to produce the beers.

As far as which brother drinks the most beer, Gohsman says it’s a toss-up. "We’re more quantity of variety than overall consumption focused," he explains. "It’s awesome to drink our own beer and see it on the shelves at stores."


This story ran in the March issue of: