On a trip to Hawai‘i in 2003, Maui Brewing Company owner and founder Garrett Marrero was enjoying a local beer that he later realized wasn’t actually brewed in Hawai‘i. Back home in California, the craft brewing scene was booming, inspiring Garrett to make a craft beer for the Aloha State, one brewed with local ingredients in the islands. Maui Brewing Company is now Hawai‘i’s largest craft brewery based on local production. Maui Brewing Company beers are available in 15 U.S. states as well as in 10 different countries.
In 2011, Maui Brewing Company produced more than 11,000 barrels of beer. This year, Garrett estimates they’ll brew four times that number on top of rebranding of Maui Brewing Co.’s iconic bottles, launching a new restaurant at the company’s production room and tasting facility in Kihei, Maui, installing a 1.2-megawatt energy system to allow the brewery to operate completely off the grid and opening an upcoming brewpub in Waikiki. Needless to say, Garrett’s been busy. “None of it has been easy, I’ll tell you that,” he says with a laugh. “It’s definitely been a challenge from day one. The [Hawai‘i] business environment, tax structure, utility and costs, and shipping is a beast to overcome, but it’s been worth it.” Garrett is a board member of the national Brewers Association and was named Entrepreneur of the Year at the 16th Annual Hawaii Venture Capital Association awards in February.