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Show Some Aloha

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Garrett Marrero 0:00

Hawaii has adopted us and it's been really good I think the early years especially you work so much you forget why you're here. You know and startup anybody starting a business understands what that means you know you you might have moved here because you love the water you love this you love that but guess what you don't get any of that when you're starting a business to the to the level that we did.

Hawaii's Best 0:23

Aloha Welcome to Hawaii's Best podcast, learn the stories behind Hawaii's Best experiences, influencers and businesses. Discover everything that makes Hawaii the Aloha state. And now your host Brian Murphy.

Bryan Murphy 0:40

Aloha and welcome to Episode 21 of Hawaii's Best. I'm your host Brian Murphy and I just want to say thank you so much for joining me today. Today we're going to hear more from Garrett Marrero of Maui Brewing Company. He is the co founder there and recently on a trip over to Maui. We got this Spend some time with Garrett and QA at their main facility. And it was an incredible experience. And I can't wait for you to hear more about what is going on at Maui Brewing Company so much more than their great product. They are actively involved in the State of Hawaii. And we get to hear more about his story personally, and how Maui Brewing Company all came about. One of the best ways that you can help support Hawaii's Best is by simply hitting that subscribe button and leaving a review and a rating below that helps other people who love Hawaii just like you be able to find this conversation for 2020. We have some amazing guests lined up we get to hear more from other CEOs of some incredible Hawaii companies. And we're also planning on doing more on location interviews. So that's something you're going to want to not miss this year because we are just gearing up here on Hawaii's Best. As I mentioned, Garrett is the co founder of Maui Brewing Company and you can simply find Maui Brewing Company by going to Maui brewing koat.com or an Instagram follow them at Maui Brewing Co. Throughout our conversation, we talked a lot about some new products that Maui Brewing Company has coming out and since the release of this episode, have come out with some of those things that we talked about in this interview, so to find out what those products are, or to find out what's happening next with Maui Brewing Company, just go to Maui brewing co.com and you can find out everything there. Karen and I connected off air for some time as well when we were visiting with them and it was just so evident and so cool to see the respect that his staff have for him as we're just walking around the facility. He's greeting everybody by first name, he knows who's having a baby. And it was just such a cool experience. You got this family feel for a company that has grown so large, so fast that Garrett's intentionality and his care for his staff in his care to not only grow and make a larger impact, but to grow at a pace that is healthy and to grow at a pace that values their customer and as well as the staff on the same hand, and that is an interesting balance to find. And it's cool to see Garrett flourishing in that. So I'm just excited for you to listen to our conversation. So let's go ahead and head over and talk story with Garrett from Maui Brewing Company.

Here at the thank you so much for coming on Hawaii's Best today How are you doing? And maybe tell us a little bit about yourself?

Unknown Speaker 3:42

I'm doing pretty well. no shortage of things to do. Of course, you know, here and the summer beer drinking season still. You know, I'm the CEO and co founder of Maui Brewing Company. 2005 is when we started and here we are almost be 15 years in January later. Still cranking it out. That's it. mazing Yeah, how did it all start back in? oh five, I'm sure there's a story before Oh, five Sure. I was 26 when we started the company, but it really was just a vision, a dream of mine that I had back in probably 2002, maybe three. I had been coming to Hawaii on vacation for several years and just fell in love with Maui, and realized that there was no local beer that was actually being produced in Hawaii. And most of it was being shipped over and called local me coming from San Diego saw that as a huge opportunity. Because, you know, craft beer, that term craft beer was just starting to be used. And I felt that it was about a sense of place about integrity. And it really needed to be local, if you're going to say it was local. So I saw that as a good opportunity. I was in finance. My girlfriend at the time, was in finance, but on the analytical side, and one day I told her, Hey, we should move to Maui and start a brewery and that was in 2004. It was early 2004. And by December of For we had moved here and we co founded Maui Brewing Company together. Wow. So opened the doors in January 28 on January 28 2005, and been going ever since you have

Bryan Murphy 5:10

the idea. Oh 4033 Yeah. And you open two years later. Yeah, that's incredible.

Unknown Speaker 5:16

Yeah, it was pretty quick. I mean, it was, I was in finance. Like I said, I was an investment consultant and wanted to do something different. You know, I was at the time thinking to see Oh, 403 I was 25 just turned 25 I think when I really started thinking about this and maybe even 24 that's so long ago. But you know, like any young man at that age, you know, you can do no wrong you're invincible you infallible make no mistakes. Of course, I'm sure. You're probably a lot like that. Right. At least back then. Yeah, and you know, of course, I've downplay that over the years and learned how much I didn't know is I think the next step in a man's life, finding out everything you don't know. But you know, it was that that useful? Maybe a bit of aggression. passiveness but also that youthful confidence. I think that helped to say, you know, I can do that right. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I can do it. And we took a big risk and we sold everything we owned, borrowed every penny we could and started up Maui Brewing Company from a essentially a bankrupt brew pub that was operating in just outside of bankruptcy after coming out of receivership in kahana. And so that was something that we saw as an opportunity because it had a brew house had a restaurant. So there was already some traffic there. And if we cut out all those other partners and trim the fat rebranded because it was not Maui Brewing Company, simplify things and really focus on making killer authentic local wine beer, that maybe we had a chance and at the time, there were about 1200 breweries in the country. So you know, back then it was really very new. You know, there's, of course, you know, guys like Sierra Nevada, Ken Grossman and family and Greg cook and Steve Wagner over at stone you know, they've been doing this for many years, even prior decade, two decades prior, we just wanted to do that here in Hawaii. Okay. And it wasn't being done. I would say the way micro beer micro brewing was being done in Hawaii was I think less with probably the least amount of integrity it could have been done, because it was being brewed in the mainland shipped over and called local

Bryan Murphy 7:20

label local.

Unknown Speaker 7:22

Yeah, okay. labeled. You know, I'll just say liquid Aloha. Okay. And, you know, there hasn't been a bottle of Kona Brewing Company beer brewed here since God knows But before we started, you know, say 20 years now. So for us, you know, we saw that as an opportunity to really lead with Hey, we're local, we're authentic. You know, we weren't trying to appropriate the culture or appropriate the the local name and serve in terms of like that were from here. But it was a place that we fell in love with and wanted to give back to that community by making a craft beer. I think beer brings people together. You know, all alcohol does. That liquid courage in some ways. I mean, I know relationships start because you know, people break down their barriers and able to have a conversation when they've had a few drinks, you know, and like Frank Zappa said you need, you know, to be a real country. You need an airline, a sports team and a beer. And we wanted to give that to Hawaii was our contribution, if you will.

Bryan Murphy 8:17

So when he came on Island during those vacation years, to Maui, specifically, you saw the opportunity. You saw the problem, and you're like I can, but where did Where did this whole microbrewery passion. Where did that stem from?

Unknown Speaker 8:31

My grandpa actually? So my growing up? My stepdads dad, we call them opa Bob. He works at Scripps Oceanographic Institute in San Diego. Yeah. And so he did purchasing for them. And so the captains of the boats that would come in and doing provisioning and stuff with him would always bring in beer from all around the world. And so he'd bring this beer home and I'm thinking back to probably 13 ish, maybe I had a read. I mean, we grew up in a very European family. So wine and beer. And no responsibility was always trained to us, etc. But grandpa would bring these beers home and we try them. And I remember drinking like Mgd, which was my uncle's beer and thinking that I will never drink beer. And this is the worst thing I've ever had. But then my grandpa gave me some beer. And I was like, Oh, this is good. I like this. You know, what is that? You know? And over the years as I grew up, got to try more and more beers. And, you know, Sierra Nevada is, of course, a core beer for me. I mean, that's a beer that I just love so much is still perfect to this day. Pete's wicked. Back in those days beets wicked winter beer was my mom's wedding beer at her second wedding. Okay, stone Brewing Company in San Diego. They opened up in 96. The year I graduated high school, and my grandpa bought a keg of their IPA was one of the first ones he sold out of the brewery to the public, for my graduation party, so I had this love of good beer early on, so much so that I was definitely a beer snob when it was,

Bryan Murphy 9:57

was being

Unknown Speaker 9:57

Yeah, I couldn't drink the Natty light booty Chow, we call them as Mr. Brough and all kinds of other stuff that was, you know, when you have to pull your money in for 60 bucks, you go get a half barrel, it's not gonna be good here. So I was always like, No, I'm gonna go get a six or 12 pack of this or whatever, and hide that. And I'll drink that, you know. But now fast forward when it was I fell out of love with what I was doing in finance. And I loved how dynamic that was. And I loved the pace. But I didn't love what I saw happening in the industry. And I didn't love that, no matter how hard I worked more and more of my cut essentially went to someone else. And I wanted to really step out on my own and do something for my life for me. And this was kind of that, that thing where I could make it or or lose it all, but at least it was on my shoulders. And you know, I think starting out with the idea of just making local beer, you know, great, authentic local wine beer, but then, you know, the sustainability initiatives started to come into play and looking at the issues here in Hawaii from a cultural and workforce standpoint and the cost of operation here and the Hawaii brand and how that was being diminished by all of this, squatting essentially on the brands because they weren't actually from Hawaii really didn't offer anything back to the community. So we started just becoming more and more entrenched into not just being a brewery, but also being a supporter of of Hawaii and supporter of the community. We wanted to lead by example in manufacturing and create jobs and create tax revenue. And like I said, of course, Authenticity, and then sustainability, like I said, as well, you know, being a leader in manufacturing and, and doing that with sustainable resources. So, you know, now just a couple weeks ago, we've become grid independent, where we produce 100% of our electricity on site through solar PV as well as battery and then biodiesel generators. We are still grid connected so if we need to import we can but you know, we're a for profit business we have to run right. But at the same time, our our goal at some point in the not too distant future would be even like an Island mode where we don't even have a grid connection. So it's a dream. But you know, we'll see

Bryan Murphy 12:05

grid independent grid independence,

Unknown Speaker 12:06

the term we use, because we are technically still grid connector, although we don't really pull from the grid

Bryan Murphy 12:13

as I'm looking around your amazing facility when we talk about grid independent here. I think maybe if we can give someone who's listening to this right now, just kind of a scope of this facility. Sure. And what's going on here?

Unknown Speaker 12:27

Yeah. So because the the kihei site for us is really unique. We call it kind of like the mothership here. Yeah. So this is our third location on Maui. We started in kahana, which we still operate. It's a restaurant up there. We've been there for since the beginning January of oh five, has a seven barrel brew house over there that we don't brew in any longer. Then we moved to the hyena for production brewing when we launched cans not started in 2007. We then since sold that to kohala, which is a startup brewery here on Island. They've been around for about three years now since three or four years when we were building Kenya. we exited our old location. So we have two facilities on Maui one being a restaurant and then the kihei site. kihei has the full production brewery distillery, a joint venture Coffee Company called origin coffee Maui. And we also have now we're doing we're gonna be launching hard water which are hard seltzer, Maui hard seltzer. And we have cuckoo spirits like I said through the distillery which is our canned cocktails as well as our gin and whiskey. All of our offices and admin and that kind of stuff here. We are about 82,000 square feet in total 60 ish of that is production space, and the rest is offices restaurant, you know, other areas, but the main area, largest consumption of area is the production of all of our liquid, if you will, we have become a craft beverage company more so than just a craft brewery. Sure, that's always going to be our core, but we do other things as well. We have about 1.2 megawatts of solar here. So I showed you the picture. It's like the entire roof is covered with solar as well as we have a bunch of awnings that we've built whether they be solar car ports or shade structures for operations outside like loading docks and wastewater and other equipment storage. So those are all under solar awnings to create more roof anything you can throw a panel on pretty much. Yeah, it's gotten to that point where like, Where can we fit more we look at the drone shot, sometimes we're like, we get like nine more panels, right there. You know, and it's, it's just something that it's been since the day the building was vertical here. We've been in constant construction on solar. Yeah. Because we had to break it up in phases to be able to afford it, but also to maximize our tax credits, you know, to use that financial strategy behind what we do here as well. I'm

Bryan Murphy 14:39

sure probably from your perspective, you're always forward thinking, Okay, what's next? What's next? But it's incredible to think the last 15 years how much you guys have made an impact, positive impact in this area, but around the world, your brand and your product. If we go back to the early days, the oh five maybe oh five to 10 How was that first? relationship like here on Maui.

Unknown Speaker 15:02

You know, it was it was pretty difficult in the beginning, you know, the first two years not so much because it was just like, we were two ships passing the night just working like dogs at the restaurant. And it wasn't until we opened the production brewery where we could actually launch cans that we really had to have that kind of those. Those harder conversations with people in the community, they love the beer when they came in, you know, guess whether they'd be residents and visitors like you know, loved coming to visit us and try our beers. But when you go into the distribution mode, and you're now selling direct to another restaurant, or a bar or a hotel, right, you're competing against all these other brands, including those fake local brands, right? Your costs are higher, so your beers more expensive, but you have this huge education on why your beer is more expensive. You know, from a quality perspective, maybe from a from a local perspective. You're also having to overcome certain maybe more closed minded people would Think that why would I sell your beer because you're a competing restaurant, you know, as opposed to just realizing that it's beer, so we had a lot of that as well. And then we decided to lead with cans. I mean, we were the 10th brewery in the country to put beer in cans craft beer in cans. So here it was, like only junk beer was in cans and like, why would you put this beer in cans? A B, why is it more expensive? It's in Cannes, right you know, all of those things. So we had to really educate the not only the consumer the craft beer drinker, but the the account level buyers as well and say, this is why it's in a can pour it in a glass just like you wouldn't drink out of a bottle of wine. You know, pour it in the right glass. Here's why the cans better it's sheltered from light. You know, it has lower oxygen content typically than bottles, of course, packaging equipment dependent. They're made locally cans are made over on a wahoo. So you're supporting local manufacturing there as well as a more sustainable resource versus glass or cans are infinitely recyclable. So you know, we had this huge education before we could even sell beer again. Especially in camps, and took a long time to overcome that. But now you're sitting 8000 breweries in the country with at least 1000 of them canning, very different than it was when we started. Interesting. Okay. It's a whole different world that was five minutes ago.

Bryan Murphy 17:14

Yeah. And from your perspective, maybe more on a personal level, coming from vacationing on Maui, to starting a business on Maui and becoming part of the culture. Hawaii's Best is all about someone who's coming to the islands for the first time or maybe coming on vacation, and they come year after year. But from your perspective, on this side of it, what are some things that you've learned about Hawaiian culture?

Unknown Speaker 17:39

You know, I think one of the things I fell in love with about Maui in particular was that, you know, you're treated how you treat others, you know, and what I realized too early on was that, you know, if you're struggling carrying your cooler at the beach, someone's going to come help you and not expect anything in return and they could give a damn, whatever you do for a living. It's, you know, I was really Living in San Francisco prior. And the first question out of someone's mouth is what do you do? Where do you work you know, and then it's very quickly you know in a in a conversation about money and you know what cars you drive and it was a status driven type things were here it was just who you are, and you're going to be accepted and treated well if you treat others well and accept them. So I think you've you've come here as a transplant, if you will, and you think you own the island and you're behaving inappropriately or you're disrespectful, then you're going to be put in your place and that's where I think some of these stories of people being not accepted or the local mentality or whatever, I think it's it's people who don't respect the culture and the fact that their guests here and that they're not bringing any positivity, that's what's going to make it a bad experience for you. You know, I fell in love with it and it's not that I wanted to like I said appropriate it for myself and change it. I wanted to be a part of it. And I wanted to support it and see that go forward. You know, especially coming from a city like San Francisco which is still loves San Francisco by I love to visit great food and then you know, get back to Maui or somewhere else. But it's fun, fun people watching city. Hawaii has adopted us. And it's been really good. I think the early years, especially, you work so much you forget why you're here, you know, and started anybody starting a business understands what that means, you know, you, you might have moved here because you love the water. You love this, you love that. But guess what, you don't get any of that when you're starting a business to the to the level that we did. So, you know, it took its toll. Certainly. So yeah, learning to find that again. You know, yeah, and that's where, like, once we had more team members, and we had, you know, wasn't just two of us trying to duke it out, out, or, you know, eke out a living. You know, we, we grew from, I think 23 on our team, something like that to now we're close to 800 with the four restaurants so we have two and a wahoo to here, plus the brewing operations. So as we were able to be more successful and higher, the quality people we needed. That's when it started becoming like, you know, we could Go to the beach again and you can go diving again. And still a lot of those things didn't happen for many years, because business was the priority. But you know, that's, that's, that's being an entrepreneur, if you're not willing to sacrifice everything, you might as well quit before you start. And that's the only way you're gonna be successful.

Bryan Murphy 20:17

How do you currently unplug?

Unknown Speaker 20:20

Like literally right now? I'm flying a lot. It's been a dream of mine to get my pilot's license. That's amazing. Yeah. My dad was he flew when he was young. And he always talked about it very, you know, romantically. And he had stopped flying, I think, right around the time I was born. And but I always heard the stories. And so I when I had the opportunity to learn to fly, you know, I just fell in love with it. And so I'm finishing on my pilot's license now. And to me, it's both a, it's it's an interesting thing, because to fly, you really have to manage risk, right? You have to be thinking about, you're traveling in three dimensions. You're dealing with a lot of expensive equipment and you know the fact that you're facing death by any moment. A very safe Yeah, if you do it right. And one of the things that requires is risk management, like I said, but that includes your mental state, and you have to have a clear head. So going up in the air and worrying about stuff and like getting on your phone and texting and all that. You don't have the time to do that. Nor do you want to do that. Because you're looking at this beautiful landscape. You're looking at the ocean, you might be, you know, last last whale season, I was flying over whale pods and doing my whale watching from the air instead of by boat, and it's a whole different perspective. So I clear my head by flying

Bryan Murphy 21:32

because on so many levels, you have to be

Unknown Speaker 21:34

in the moment. You got to be in the moment. Yeah, I mean, you can put it on autopilot and take a drink of water and sure no, look, whatever. But you do you know to be a good pilot. You need to be present. Yeah. Which means having a clear head focusing on what you're doing a lot of parallels there, huh? Absolutely. You're Yeah, absolutely. And I'm finding that a lot more right now. And you know, the other part of it too, is I lost my dad about six years ago, seven years ago. Almost now. And it's kind of a connection to him for me as well so that I get to, you know, when I'm up in the air, I can think about that, but it's, it's happy, you know, like he's living his dream through me. Yes, for example. So when and you know, I think beyond that I've been the last couple weeks tried to be at the beach as often as possible. So, you know that reconnecting with the water is probably the most important to the aspect. For me, I always used to say that on in or near the water, I was always happier. And I've missed that for a while. So trying to get back to that those roots. Yeah,

Bryan Murphy 22:33

well, if someone's coming to Maui for the first time, what are some obviously they they need to come here? Sure. What are some other things they want to put on their list from spective?

Unknown Speaker 22:42

Honestly, like I think skip all the obvious stuff. I mean, I think, you know, you could go on the, you know, hundred best things to do type sites and those are fun, but I think really just being present is the most important. I see a lot of people come on vacation here and then their last day, they're just spent like they want Go home so they get some rest, you know, and they plan too much. So I would say first plan to not have a plan. Because most things here with the exception of like luaus and and things that you really do need to have a reservation for depending on time of year. Just take it day by day and try not to cram it all in, just plan to come back and see something else. You know, I always recommend trying to stay like on the west side, if you're only here for a week stay three or four days west sides depend the rest of the time south side. do or don't do the road to Hana. Beautiful, but it takes an entire day and you're tired the next day. But honestly grab a six pack of bikini blonde lager and pokey bowl from Tamara's or food land and yeah, go sit at the beach and just drink it all. Eat it all. Get some sun. That's probably number one. Just absolutely, yeah. Rent a paddle for permission.

Bryan Murphy 23:47

Yeah, just

Unknown Speaker 23:48

just let yourself decompress. That's one thing that Hawaii has over everywhere else. You go to the beach and you feel the energy just kind of relaxing a little bit and I think You know, I go to the beach in San Diego when I'm home or whatever and it's just a different fields, the waters warm, you know, you can sit out at Christmas and sit in 78 degree water, you know, and then in the summer, you know, like right now that water's probably sitting somewhere on 80 degrees, maybe a little more. So you get in that water, you don't need a wetsuit to go diving. It's just, it's the most amazing place in the world to me, you know, to each their own. They you got to come experience it. So

Bryan Murphy 24:24

yeah, we're talking about being present. And also thinking about what's next and vision. You mentioned a little bit ago about some new products that are now brewing is, I don't know, you guys are kind of testing out or where you guys with that? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 24:38

You know, we realized years ago that we needed to be doing other beverages. And the reason being is you look at the craft beer market, you'd like I said, we started there were less than 1200 breweries in the country. There's now almost 8000. I sit on the board of directors for the Brewers Association as well. So I'm pretty intimate with the knowledge. There's about 2.2 new breweries opening every day and there are not one to closing every day, so you know, the pie is getting sliced, infinitesimally smaller every day. And you know, where we were seeing these rapid growth in other markets. We're still seeing growth at home because of this hyper local movement. And the reason I say hyper local is it used to be local, if it was in the state, you know, and then I remember being in California and someone saying, like, we were in San Francisco, actually. And they're like, Oh, well, we don't serve any beer from Southern California because I asked if they had like Firestone walker or whatever. And they're like, Oh, no, that's too far south. We only serve beer like North or whatever. And I'm like, that's not local anymore. Now, it's by the neighborhood. You know, now it's literally hyperlocal is, oh, you know, your beers brewed in Poway? Well, we're in Escondido. That's, that's not local man. You know, it's that, you know, it could be across the street, but it's a different neighborhood. Interesting. It's crazy how it's happened. So how much that's hurt us in the mainland. It was significant, but we've always sold very little in the mainland compared to what we sell in Hawaii. But it's helped us a ton here locally, because That hyperlocal Regiment, people are asking us for local beer and we're the largest producer of local beer in the State of Hawaii. So, at the same time, like I said, beer consumption is declining. Over if you look at the the 21 and up less people are drinking beer most 21 year olds are actually switching to spirits right out of the gate or premium wine interestingly enough, so creating more opportunities to drink beer is important to us. But we realized that we can't make that change alone. So we started looking at other beverages that are being consumed, namely anything being produced in the mainland that is that has traction here in Hawaii. So like hard water hard seltzer. You know the distillery movement with the craft cocktails and craft distilling, ready to drink canned cocktails, if those are going to be shipped into Hawaii. Why don't we repeat what we did with beer and make an authentic local version of that for our guests. So Maui hard seltzer will be launching later this year. We have three different flavors of hard water 5% gluten free, under 100 calories under one gram of carbs, no sugar added, checking all the boxes that the what you call the better for you or BF y category is looking for right now. And let's be clear alcohol is never going to. So that's why I take not offense may take pause Yeah, the better for you. Fear is not bad for you, you know, just anything in balance. But then on the distillery side you know we have our locally produced gin using local flora and fauna to influence the style hibiscus, lemongrass oranges from my house and Kula so really makes a very unique gin and then our whiskey as well as made from our malts, various malts that we make our beer with. So we figure if those are going to get shipped in we might as well be a local option.

Bryan Murphy 27:45

That's a smart Yeah. Especially with your branding already behind it. That's so integris Yeah, Brewing Company. When you branded that was this in mind or you kind of a pivot?

Unknown Speaker 27:56

No, it's not so much. It wasn't in mind when we said Maui brewing company and work is definitely fits. I mean, Maui made sense because we wanted to be very simple and be clear where we were and what we were doing. And since we had that such a focus on local, we needed to have the geography mentioned in our name, right. So Maui Brewing Company just made sense. So now that we have you know, we have like Maui hard seltzer, Maui h2o, which is our drinking water that we're going to start canning to eliminate help eliminate plastic water bottles from the state, the Maui brand is from a marketing perspective, actually more recognizable than even the name Hawaii. So for us, you know, it makes sense to continue to build off that Maui brand. The one deviation we had on that is the cuckoo spirits, because Maui brewing doesn't necessarily make sense for the distiller Yeah, and we didn't want to have a mouthful, that was Maui brewing and spirits. So we decided to go with cuckoo, because the cuckoo essentially means new growth or offshoot from an existing base. And that existing base is Maui Brewing Company. That's giving and nurturing the cuckoo, the offshoot. Think of it like a Fern. Okay, so you have that base and that offshoot from the middle. That youthful cuckoo is protected and nurtured by the base as it continues to develop into its own. The cuckoo spirits logo is like an unfurling frond of a Fern love that it also has a touch point back to the Maui brewing logo in the center of the whole new you see the swirl, right? That swirl is called a Kuru, which is the Mau return for what cuckoo is. And so there's a touch point back to the Maui brewing logo. And then of course on all the cuckoo branding, we say, you know, brought to you by Maui Brewing Company. Yeah. So it's a touch point, although it allows it to be its own entity, its own thing. But you know, this is something that we started thinking about probably back in 2009 2010. first started thinking about canned cocktails because we have the canning line. So we're already making sodas, we're like, well, we could do this, but law didn't allow that to do didn't allow us to do that here. So we had to change. Yet again. I think I've written probably 10 or 12 bills in the state of Hawaii, but we created a new class of license called the small craft producer license, which allows us to make any type of alcohol as long as we have the federal license to do so. Which sounds very simple, sounds obvious that we should, should have that freedom to make things and pay more taxes. But the state didn't have that initially, because there was no one trying to do that. So we were that champion for the license and the ability to grow. And that's allowed us to now get into these other areas, we even make a cider as well. We do that under the Maui brewing brand. But cider and beer typically are, you know, made by breweries nowadays, but going into the hard sell to the cocktails and canned water etc. that's those are there's a brand extensions, if you will, right. So

Bryan Murphy 30:42

you guys do a root beer. We do root beer.

Unknown Speaker 30:44

Yeah, we actually award winning root beer. Yes. So we have Maui Brewing Company Island sodas, as we call it and Island soda ranges. Root Beer we've been making since 2008. And the reason we started doing that too is we always wanted to be a family establishment. We weren't ever a bar, and we wanted to have families come in and I could see, you know, mom, dad, kids sitting at the bar and you know, mom and dad might be drinking a cocktail of beers or whatever. And then the kids get their little pint of root beer and you know, get to sit there and have that beer with dad and I just thought that would be really cool. Plus my grandpa Oh, yeah, loved root beer when I'm one of always remember him crushing dad's root beer holidays. And so we made Island root beer. And then we expanded that into Island Cola, ginger, beer and tonic as well. And those last three that we added were designed to be great sodas on their own, so the non alcoholic portion of what we do, but they were also meant to really play well with spirits and mix well. Okay, so they stand up to spirits and they bring flavor to it. At the same time. They don't overpower those spirits either. So we really wanted to, we spent about two years making the ginger beer to be to you know, think about that. That's crazy. Especially since her batches out it takes a day to make one beer takes three weeks, you know, it's a little bit different. But those are what's in the cuckoo cocktails poopoo canned cocktail. So you get a gin and tonic. That's our tonic from Maui brewing as well as the gin from goop. And same with the whiskey ginger whiskey cola. Gotcha.

Bryan Murphy 32:13

Yeah. Anything else as far as like, Hey, this is what's coming next. So we're excited about,

Unknown Speaker 32:18

you know, I think the beyond beer program is probably the thing that I spend most of my time on right now. And things that I'm most excited about. I feel like I'm at the like, right at the end of getting some of these things launched. We launched kuku. In July, I'll have hard water launched by the end of October, cams by the end of the year for that, ideally, beginning of the year, I'd like to have the canned water rolling out to the schools as a pilot program. Because I believe very strongly in minimizing the use of plastic in our environment, especially, you know, the the way it impacts the ocean and the environment, you know, and just the sea life and you know, people come to Hawaii because the oceans are so amazing and they still are, but I think it's incumbent upon us to protect as best we can, and I absolutely hate plastic water bottles like hates a strong word I know. And I try not to use that for people. But I have that for plastic. And I think the fact that aluminum is infinitely recyclable and produced right here in Hawaii through the can plant over ball, the fact that we have an opportunity at Maui Brewing Company to do something so good for the environment. That's something that I'm really passionate about. And that's what leads our sustainability initiatives. Just anecdotally, it's funny, I sent an email to ball last week, asking us Hey, there's all these stats like, if you put a bottle water bottle and and you could wrap the world like 50,000 times, or whatever it is, that's how much is consumed in a year, or the pile of water bottles consumed in just one day. You can see from space, all these different funny facts, right. But we wanted some that are more like different. And I said, you know, and the example I gave was that there's enough water bottles consumed every year to fill the Grand Canyon, like to really give a perspective. And I was like, I don't know that's case and I said, God, I hope it's not and I got an email back being like you're probably not too far off. And that scared me the fact that here is this can manufacturing like, Yeah, actually, you're probably not too far off. Yeah, think about how big the Grand Canyon is. Yeah. And imagine filling that like a wastebasket with plastic water bottles in this that's scary. And you look at some of these footage of the ocean in the like Far East you see these waves of plastic in Thailand, Bali and all these beautiful places and the fact that we have even a small hand and trying to help combat that is something that I'm really passionate about moving forward. And it's all of our responsibilities if you enjoy coming to Hawaii. Hawaii didn't become Hawaii just by neglect not like it's all of our responsibilities. Like if we want our grandkids to enjoy these places. We need to leave it better than we found it Yeah. And we need to figure that out. Yeah. Yeah, just don't go to a big box store and buy four cases of water for your trip here sir. Bring one stainless steel or other reusable water bottle and please use that on your trip. You know you may be may have the best of intentions and Grab a bottle of water, and you know, sit it down next to you at the beach and it's empty and it blows into the ocean. Well, maybe you can't get it. Okay, well now that's in the ocean for forever, you know. So if you have that stainless steel water bottle sitting next to you, you just refill it constantly and it's not going to blow away. So little things like that make a huge difference. I mean, it's just, I always travel with reusable water bottles. I mean, I think this is my beer Growler. And I've never had never seen beer. I drink at least one of those a day of water usually too, you know, and I try to always have more sustainable options I have, I have my travel water bottle that I take when I travel because it fits slim and it fits in my backpack. You know, these are the types of very simple things that I wish more people would do. And finally we're starting to see the movement swell and get to that point of inflection where I think it will will hopefully take over but we definitely need to be making that difference.

Bryan Murphy 35:52

Is there an incredible that sometimes you need people to get the Oh, I get it now.

Unknown Speaker 35:58

Yeah, you do. Yeah. It's almost like those old commercials, I don't think they do anymore. The VA ones, you got exactly the guy on the head. That's kind of what needs to happen. And, you know, you start seeing pictures of whales dead on the beach and rotting and all that's in them is plastic or the outline of a bird with the skeleton, you know, see it on the beach, and all it is is plastic in there that they've just been eating because they don't know any better, you know. So there's a lot of things that we'd like to do and continue to move in that direction. And that's part of our leadership in manufacturing in Hawaii is first was this grid independence project? Actually, I'd argue that second first was saying that, you know, if you're producing something, if you want to say it's local, it should be there and made there because it has a direct impact on the community. Second to that was then sustainability and creating energy from renewable resources. You don't have to go as far as we did. You can buy renewable energy or you can do your part. That's all we can ask. We've been successful and we've been able to convince the bank to lend us the money to do that project, because it does have a good ROI. You know, you could have put that money elsewhere and we chose to Put it into energy. That also gives us an accurate projection of energy costs moving forward in perpetuity. So our team that relies on us to pay their paychecks, they have a more solid foundation, because now we're in control of energy costs, as opposed to just fuel and oil. Now dictating what we pay our energy, we've seen prices for energy here, go 30 40% higher over the last, you know, 15 years that we've been here, and they go up, they go down, they go up, they go down, they're all over the place. And more often than not, they're up, then they are down. Those are the things that we try to combat and to give our make ourselves kind of lean and mean huge win win. Yeah, there. Yeah. And that's where some of the financial mindset of both Melanie and myself, you know, bringing to the company, and applying that in a more direct way to the beer industry was very unique, especially at the time when we opened. You know, in 2005. Most breweries that were opening were two guys who made killer homebrew homebrew back at home. They're like, Hey, I think we could do this for

Bryan Murphy 37:58

work. I got this kicked off Amazon. And you know,

Unknown Speaker 38:01

and nothing wrong with that home brewing is where all of the ideas and the crazy stuff so the innovation really came from initially and still does to some degree this to these days, but we applied a business approach to something that, you know, especially I loved in beer, and that's what I think helped us be successful as well. You know, ran it like a business, but definitely treated it more as a lifestyle. You know,

Bryan Murphy 38:24

okay, probably a serious question. Okay. What's your current favorite drink? Oh,

Unknown Speaker 38:31

favorite drink. That's hard. I'm not drinking right now. More just, I was on a cleanse and I'm getting ready to go to Korea, which is going to be pretty crazy. Normally Pilsner, pow ohana Pilsner from us. I just I love Pilsner style, and I think it's super clean, nice and dry hoppy. If I'm not drinking that I'm probably going to drink like old fashioned or something along those lines. I love a good whiskey cocktail.

Bryan Murphy 38:55

Okay, well, Garrett, thank you so much for coming on Hawaii's Best No, no worries. How can we Connect with now a Brewing Company. You know, no one uses the internet anymore. So

Unknown Speaker 39:03

I would say Instagram at Maui Brewing Co is over at Maui Brewing Company. And then also same on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. And then of course, if you do still use the web, it's Maui brewing calm. And of course, if you just search, Maui and beer online, it's going to come up with our links first. But we'd love to have you come visit and drink a beer, try a soda, get a cocktail. We try to deliver an authentic local experience and certainly something you won't regret.

Bryan Murphy 39:31

Appreciate it. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you. All right. Hello. Hello. I just want to thank Garrett again and Maui Brewing Company for their hospitality. For showing my wife Allie and I around and we talked a little bit about the root beer, their root beer is amazing. So yeah, you go to Maui Brewing Company. Their food is great, their vibe is great. Their products are amazing. So I just want to encourage you. Next time you're on Maui, check them out at their main facility in kihei. You can find them all across island as well just simply go to Maui brewing co.com. My key takeaway from the conversation with Garrett was learning about how their facility is grid independent. Now that's cool and an environmental side. And that's I think it's easy to see the winds without being fully grid independent. But what I really love too, is that it's incredible way to control costs. So on a business side, I really appreciate that. And then on the environmental side, it's it's cool to see a win win for both business and environment. I really hope that this interview gave you an inside look at Maui Brewing Company and added some value to your day and if it did, again, hit that subscribe button, drop a rating review below and I look forward to hanging out again next time on Hawaii's Best until then, be well. Aloha.

Hawaii's Best 40:54

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Bryan Murphy
Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy, owner of Hawaii’s Best Travel, is a certified Hawaii destination expert from the Hawaii Visitors Bureau. He actively participates in the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau as a member and has a strong educational background focused on local culture and sustainability. As the host of “Hawaii’s Best Travel,” a top-30 US travel podcast, Bryan combines his years of experience with valuable insights. He connects with a broad online community, reaching nearly half a million people, and offers a richer, more responsible way to experience Hawaii.