If you happen to see Governor Neil Abercrombie in Kihei on Saturday–specifically, in or near the cavernous new Maui Brewing Co. facility being built on Lipoa Parkway–here’s why: at noon, Abercrombie will sign SB 3042. Specifically, the bill removes the state’s 30,000-barrel restriction on brew pub production. It also creates a new liquor license for small craft brew pubs.
Holding the signing at the new Maui Brewing Co. brewery is no accident–in many ways, it’s why the bill exists.
Between early February and mid-March of this year, Maui Brewing Co. owner Garrett Marrero submitted written testimony to three legislative committees (and emailed testimony on two other occasions in his capacity as vice president of the Hawaiian Craft Brewers Guild) in support of the bill. His new facility played a key role in his boosting the bill. Here’s part of his Mar. 14 testimony to the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce:
“Specifically, when our new facility is completed in July we will likely surpass the current 30,000 current barrel limit in just our second year. This will serve to directly impede the growth of our company and be a severe negative impact to the company and its employees alike.”
Marrero’s testimony also shows he wasn’t shy about telling committee chairs (two of which, Sen. Roz Baker and Rep. Angus McKelvey, are from Maui) that his company currently employs 67 people and will add “approximately 100 employees over the next 3 years.”
Other brewpubs, like Big Island Brewhaus (which is run by former Maui Brewing Co. Brewmaster Thomas Kerns) and Kauai Island Brewing Co. also submitted supportive testimony. No one submitted any testimony in opposition to the bill.