No one company is an island, to paraphrase the John Donne classic poem. But in Hawaii, one brewery is making a splash across the sun-swept island state. The Maui Brewing Company started out as a small, seven-barrel brew pub in 2005, making their own island blends of beer and serving them to the customers that walked through their door. Their focus was on brewing beer that represented the local agriculture. For example, their flavours included citrus, mango, pineapple and coconut, giving their pub patrons a true taste of the islands. In 2005, the brewpub produced 320 barrels of beer. Fast-forward to 2017 and the Maui Brewing Company is on their second production/distribution facility location (outgrowing their first one) and is pumping out about 50,000 barrels of their unique beers annually. Spotlight on Business spoke with Garrett Marrero, co-owner and founder of the Maui Brewing Company, about their own authentic approach to brewing beer in such a unique location.
By John Allaire I n 2007we opened upour first production facility wherewe startedcanning,anddoingretailbeer.Thatwasbeer-to-go as well as wholesale retailing and distribution.” Marrero is quick to point out that they were early adopters of “craft in cans” , being one of only 10 craft breweries in the US at the timethatwasproducingandsellingtheirproductsincans.It’sa commonmisconceptionthatbottlesarethemoreenvironmen- tally friendly vessel. It may have once been the case, but the metalfromthelocally-producedcansis100%recyclable,unlike glass, which is often broken up and used in other products at a lesser recyclable rate. It’s all about a smaller carbon foot- print. Local productionmeansashorter shippingprofile.CO2 recovery systems are on the horizon as well. This will help the company’sbottomline,asrecoveryof100%oftheirCO2emis- sionsallowstheirproductionfacilitytoconvertwastebackinto theirownproductionprocess,eventuallyeliminatingtheneed to buy from external sources. This all points to Maui’s commitment to sustainability. And not just within the products they produce. Their focus is on the big picture. They are working toward being “grid inde- pendent” in the near future. “You know the Jack Johnson song “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?”? That’s really our mantra here. Especially on an island with limited resources, limited access to recycling and disposal, etc. We want to consume as little as possible and be as efficient as possible. Then, layer on top of that, renewable energy and cutting water use, etc. As we’ve grown as a company, we have developed a deeper and deeper commitment to sustainability.”
Maui Brewing Company has hit the ground running in the mainland as well. They are currently distributing to 23 states within the US, and 10 countries around the world. And they are looking to pass ‘Aloha’ even further. “We have really put Hawaii on the map when it comes to craft beer,” Marrero proudly asserts. “We are primarily focused on the West Coast in the US. The closer we are to home, the better. We still sell about 75% of our beer in Hawaii. So our focus is really still our home market.” However, their sights do wander over to the global market on occasion. Currently they are sending quantities to Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, a few countries in South America, (boasting impressive sales numbers from Chile, in particular) , and they are considering distributing to China. This is more of a function of bringing their beer to countries and states where Hawaii tourists can enjoy their product once returning from vacation, and less a search for new primary markets. Above all, distribution plans outside of Hawaii have to make economic sense before the Maui products leave the plant. Moreover, dollars and cents occupy merely one segment of their philosophy regarding distribution to communities and cultures outside of their island home. “When we do venture out to the other states and countries, it’s based on, ‘do they have a good craft beer scene?’, and do we have a kinship with the culture or the community, whether it be through craft beer or with Hawaii?’. We really do like to
OCTOBER 2017 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
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