Who owns Maui Brewing? The answer is Garrett Marrero, the same guy who has always owned the small and independent craft brewery.
But Marrero is concerned readers of a regional beer industry newspaper might think otherwise after seeing an incorrect graphic of beer ownership in the most recent publication. And Marrero wants to be clear: Maui Brewing Company is, and always has been, a small and independent craft brewery.
Fake News and Alternative Facts
In a climate where the words “alternative facts” and “fake news” are lobbed around more than “please” and “thank you,” Garrett Marrero and Maui Brewing Company find themselves on the troubling end of an unintentional misprint.
Marrero was wrapping up a visit to Cincinnati for a festival in February when he started to get texts from friends who were asking if he had sold Maui. He didn’t quite understand where people were getting that idea. As a staunch supporter of independent brewing, he hadn’t sold. He’s an outspoken advocate for craft brewers, and his voice earned him a seat on the Brewers Association Board of Directors — the same board that sets the definition for what it means to be a craft brewer. That definition hinges on three cornerstones: small, traditional and independent (less than 25 percent owned or controlled by an alcoholic industry member that is not itself a craft brewer).
But when Jolly Pumpkin brewmaster Ron Jeffries sent him a photo of a graphic printed in the February/March 2017 issue of Great Lakes Brewing News, he was stunned.
Included in the publication’s cover story, “Mergers, Makeovers and Monster Breweries,” was a graphic — a family tree of sorts — that illustrated which companies own which beer brands. Maui Brewing was, inaccurately, listed as owned by Constellation Brands.
“It made my gut sink,” he tells CraftBeer.com. “Now, no matter how many retractions are printed, no matter what we do, there will always be people out there who don’t get wind of the retraction but remember that graphic, and start telling people that our brand is not independent and that we’re part of Constellation.”
How a Mistake Winds Up In Print
Marrero is adamant about the distinction between a craft brewer as defined by the BA versus breweries that are acquired and owned by multinational conglomerates like AB-InBev and Miller Coors.
“When you’re an independent brewer, your interests are very different from what they are as what we would call a ‘captive brand,'” he explains. “Aside from the beverages we make, the companies at their cores are very different.”
Articles about beer ownership, like the Great Lakes Brewing News cover story, lend transparency for people who want to know who makes their beer — and people do care. In a 2016 Nielsen survey, 63 percent of craft beer lovers acknowledged that when purchasing beer in a bar or restaurant, knowing that the beer came from a small and independent brewer did carry weight in their purchase.
Marrero knows that people are invested in who makes their beer. After seeing the misprinted graphic he contacted Jamie Magee, the designer of the editorial system at Brewing News. Magee tells CraftBeer.com when he heard from Marrero, he was “mortified.”
“We regret the mistake.” Jamie Magee, Brewing News
“I immediately reached out to our production staff and the writer to figure out what had happened,” Magee says. He tracked the mistake down to a snippet from a San Diego column ending up in the wrong place, and then a graphic artist creating a chart based off the misplaced information.
“We regret the mistake,” he tells us.
Brewing News immediately corrected the chart featured in its Great Lakes Brewing News online edition. Magee says they plan to print a correction in the April/May 2017 edition.
“I also intend to publish a mea culpa along with the corrected chart to our Facebook page,” Magee says.
Who Owns Maui Brewing? Marrero’s Message
Marrero says he understands mistakes happen, but the thought that the misprinted graphic will be floating around in bars and breweries across the region until the new issue comes out leaves Marrero very unsettled.
“It could be sitting there at the bar, you’re having a drink and reading the paper, and then seeing Maui is controlled by Constellation — and then you decide you don’t want to drink it because it’s not a craft brewer — even though the information is obviously totally wrong — and might not hear our message.”
Maui’s message, which Marrero says he wants to “yell from the rooftops,” is this:
“We haven’t changed. We are very much the same company we started out to be,” he tells CraftBeer.com. “We’re in constant pursuit of making better beer and more of it. Spreading the message of small and independent and local craft brewing is very important.”
CraftBeer.com is fully dedicated to small and independent U.S. breweries. We are published by the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers. Stories and opinions shared on CraftBeer.com do not imply endorsement by or positions taken by the Brewers Association or its members.