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Maui Brewing Co. wins top SBA national honor, meets with Pence

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The husband-and-wife team who started Maui Brewing Co. were recognized today as the most outstanding small business operators in the nation, and were congratulated in Washington, D.C., by Vice President Mike Pence.

Garrett and Melanie Marrero received the award for Small Business Persons of the Year from the U.S. Small Business Administration a week after being selected as Hawaii’s Small Business Persons of the year by the agency.

Linda McMahon, SBA administrator, said in a statement that the Marreros achieved impressive growth with their company. “Their innovative spirit, with assistance from the SBA and its lending and partners, created a thriving business and hundreds of jobs for their community,” she said.

Maui Brewing was established in 2005 as a small brewery and brewpub restaurant in Kahana with help of an SBA loan. A second location opened in Lahaina in 2007, and by 2013 they were producing more than 19,000 barrels of beer and revenue over $10 million annually. Last year, Maui Brewing opened an 18,000-square-foot restaurant in Waikiki and has more restaurants slated to open later this year, including one in Kailua.

By the end of next year, Maui Brewing expects to employ about 700 people.

“Garrett and Melanie have shown impressive growth, expanding in size, sales and scope of their business,” McMahon said.

Pence, who met Garrett Marrero at the U.S. Institute of Peace not far from the White House, noted that 99.7 percent of all businesses in America are small businesses and that nearly half of all private-sector jobs in the country are at small businesses.

“The truth is that small businesses are the foundation of our communities and pillars of the American economy,” he said, according to a written transcript from his office. “I want to give congratulations to the national small business person of the year — the two persons of the year, Garrett and Melanie Marrero of the Maui Brewing Co. in Hawaii,” he said.

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