I am fortunate to have been introduced to craft beer early in my life. Shortly after I turned 21, the beers I kept at home were from breweries like Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Pete’s Brewing Co., and anything imported. I even tried homebrewing a few times. Mom wasn’t happy when the first attempt ended up on the kitchen floor. Fast forward to my investment consulting years in San Francisco; my favorites were beers by Moylan’s Brewery, Marin Brewing Co., Thirsty Bear Brewing Co., and the other East Bay greats.
After a trip to Maui in 2001, I knew I had to make a change. It took a few years to find the right opportunity, but once that happened, my mission was clear; create Maui Brewing Company (MBC) and bring to market a truly Hawaiian, world-class product. Soon, our beers were growing popular and MBC was gaining recognition on the mainland. This lead us to grow our production facility and begin distribution beyond the islands.
In Hawaii, we are just starting to see a true craft beer culture develop. The market here is still dominated by large domestic “fizzy yellow beers,” as our good friend, Greg Koch, would say. No doubt, we are behind the mainland in consumer education about craft beer. But with help from friends of the brewery, we are creating Brew Maui, a homebrewing/beer enthusiast’s club. We are providing, at cost, hops, yeast, barley and some equipment. Our goal is to promote craft beer and to educate all beer drinkers.
I believe that the best beer hasn’t yet been brewed. I love that every day presents a new opportunity to educate and innovate. I often say that we twist people’s minds about what beer is and what it can be. Our industry is comprised of a large family of brewers with a common pursuit; brew better beer and share it with the world. We are all, in some ways competitors, but most of us do not think that way. I’m fortunate to have developed great friendships with many brewers who I can call on for advice. As a young business, it’s a big help and great feeling to receive guidance from those who have experienced the same challenges.
In my opinion, craft breweries have a great responsibility to their communities. We were elected Hawaii’s 2008 Green Business of the Year for our environmental efforts. We make our own biodiesel from fryer oil, and donate grain to local farmers for cattle feed and composting. We recycle and give the proceeds to local charities; and we practice what we preach by buying local first! This makes a huge difference to the local economy. Our cans are made locally and all of our beef and produce comes from local ranchers and farmers. Keeping money in the community goes far beyond obvious economic stimulus; it goes into the hands of our neighbors and ultimately provides families with better lives, including medical insurance, nutrition, and education.
Learn more about Maui Brewing Company.