Maui Brewing Company is taking over the Hawaiian islands one barrel of craft beer at a time, and it’s all happening here on the Valley Isle. It started when owners Garrett Marrero and wife Melanie added two 47,000-pound grain silos, and two 100-barrel fermenters a few months back. Their vision for the brewery has always been one of energy efficiency, reuse, recycling and support other local businesses, and by sticking by that vision they feel they’ve been able to grow their brewery to the next level.
“We are in constant evolution in the pursuit of better beer,” Garret says. “It’s not always about the profit—we’re working on a better beverage. Sure, it could be cheaper to ship in some of the ingredients, but that’s not the point. We will always be brewed in Hawaii, and we will always locally source ingredients for our products.”
The added fermenters will allow them to experiment with special recipes. They brewed and featured 46 different beers last year, and they typically keep 15 of them on tap at any given time at the Brew Pub. Other additions include a new cooling system and new canning equipment.
This month, they announced the release of two new canned products: Mana Wheat and Island Root Beer. These new cans will be sold mostly in Hawaii, but will have limited West Coast availability as well. Over time, MBC anticipates being able to offer them where their Bikini Blonde Lager, Big Swell IPA and CoCoNut PorTer are already found.
Mana Wheat is a pineapple hefeweizen, a German-style wheat ale that is cloudy and known for its low hop bitterness and high carbonation. “Our Mana Wheat is unique in that it is brewed with Maui Gold Pineapple,” says Garret. “It’s been reviewed as a beer that is ‘smooth and aromatic’ with a ‘sweet finish.’ Pineapple is on an iconic agricultural product, [though] unfortunately our farms on Maui are on the decline. We brewed this product to bring attention to this situation and hope that Americans will start focusing on buying local produce and supporting local agriculture in their communities.”
The Island Root Beer is made with pure Maui cane sugar, Maui honey and Maui vanilla bean. It’s an all natural and local product, with no preservatives, high-fructose corn syrup or caffeine. “Historically, root beer contained small amounts of alcohol but our vision is completely non-alcoholic,” says Garret. “We’re very pleased to be able to add this to our product line, and support our local farmers. I think products like these show consumers that local agriculture is superior, with freshness and quality, and not much more expensive and far more enjoyable.”
MBC’s new total capacity is now more than 22,000 barrels. The new canning line will be operated at a run rate of 300 cans per minute, a more than 10-fold increase over their current 27 cans per minute rate. With these increases, Maui Brewing Company is now the largest capacity craft beer brewery in the state.
The brewery launches Saturday tours beginning October 1. Call 661-6205 to schedule. They’ll also be doing an Oktoberfest celebration on October 30, and you’ll see them as the featured beer at the Barktoberfest Maui Humane Society fundraiser at Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa (877-3680). This Saturday, October 2, their beers will be paired with Chef Bev Gannon’s Octoberfest five-course Dinner at Haliimaile General Store (808-572-2666).