Kombi Keg rolls into Northwest Arkansas

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 4,297 views 

Tom Hauge, left, and Dave Dust are co-owners of Kombi Keg NWA, a franchise model based in Australia. (Photo by Iseulle Kim).

With events and other gatherings making a comeback in 2021, two Benton County entrepreneurs are hoping to cash in with a new sideline business.

Tom Hauge and Dave Dust are co-owners of Kombi Keg NWA. It’s a franchise bar/catering model based in Australia built around a Volkswagen bus (Kombi) turned interactive mobile beverage unit. It has six beer taps and a chilled trunk for wine, soft drinks and spirits. The van is equipped with a smart TV and LED lighting.

Dust’s professional background is in operations and logistics. Hauge works in marketing and sales. As business partners — they became friends as “dance dads” supporting their pre-teen daughters — they’ve been booking Kombi Keg events since March 1 to serve up a wide selection of beer, wine, soft drinks, cocktails, mocktails, juices and iced coffee.

They travel around the region to wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, corporate and nonprofit events, birthday parties and community gatherings.

“We feel it caters to a broad range of guests,” Hauge said. “It’s the ultimate photo-ready backdrop for younger guests. It’s a nostalgic talking point for older fans of the VK Kombi.”

Hauge and Dust own the only Kombi Keg in Arkansas. There are approximately 50 global franchises. Fifteen of them are in the U.S., mainly in southern California and Florida.

“We were the first in the central/Midwestern part of the country,” Dust said.

The owners declined to disclose revenue or franchise-specific costs, but that did include the Kombi purchase. Hauge made the critical distinction that Kombi Keg does not sell alcohol out of the van.

“We don’t have a liquor license,” he explained. “We serve as a conduit, delivering beverages from the van to the cup. Clients pay for beer directly from local microbreweries or other vendors, and we can help coordinate the purchase and the products. For larger events, we can offer certified bartending support through local partners.”