Eleven years ago San Diego native Garrett Marrero bought a sleepy little brewpub on Maui and renamed it Maui Brewing Co. Since then he’s quickly grown it into the largest brewery in the state with worldwide recognition and award- winning beers.
In 2015 Maui Brewing Co. opened a brand-new, state-of-the-art brewery in Kihei that has become a major destination for locals and travelers. Maui Brewing beers can now be found in 18 states and 13 countries, and the company employs more than 100 people. Marrero attributes the company’s incredible success in part to sticking to core values of authentic local production, which has led to the local and international interest.
The company’s rapid growth and expansion isn’t slowing. The brewery is on track to produce close to 45,000 barrels of beer this year, and a recent expansion will allow it to eventually brew up to 100,000 barrels. To put the numbers in perspective, 45,000 barrels of beer is more output than that of all other local breweries combined.
In addition, Maui Brewing Co. is working on a new restaurant in Waikiki and a flagship brewpub at its Kihei brewery, and there are plans for a second restaurant on Oahu as well. As if that isn’t enough to keep him busy, Marrero is also passionately involved in a large microgrid project at the Kihei brewery that will produce 100 percent of the brewery’s electricity.
“Our commitment to sustainability deepens every day, and our investment in PV and storage will be a model for responsible manufacturing in Hawaii,” he said. “This is something we need to encourage to strengthen Hawaii’s economy.”
With a new brewery and so much growth, the company also decided it was time to update its logo and can designs. Longtime favorites Bikini Blonde, Coconut Porter (now called Coconut Hiwa Porter), Pineapple Mana and Big Swell IPA received fresh can designs that feature colorful, tribal-like tattoo art and a more prominent placement of the Maui Brewing Co. label.
The first beer to roll out with the new design will actually be an old favorite and summer seasonal, La Perouse Belgian White Ale. This bright, clean and refreshing wheat beer was actually released in cans a few years ago and has occasionally been available on draft at the brewery. The rerelease comes just in time for the hot summer months.
“La Perouse White has been a highly sought-after limited release since it was first brewed,” Marrero said. “We get requests to redo many of our limited releases. We listen to our fans, and La Perouse is a result of that.”
This Belgian wit (wheat) beer is pale yellow and slightly cloudy with a pungent citrus aroma, which comes from both the unique strain of yeast used to ferment the beer and a large dose of local citrus fruits used in the brew. A soft white bread and cracker base is gently balanced by white pepper and a light accent of coriander actually added to the brew.
This is a highly drinkable beer with very low bitterness and just the right touch of sweetness to provide lots of flavor. During hot weather La Perouse is about as refreshing and thirst-quenching as you can get. Newly filled cans will be available throughout Oahu all summer long.
Tim Golden, a certified cicerone, shares his obsession with all things craft beer monthly. See his blog, “Beer in Hawaii,” at beerinhawaii.com.