Kona Brewing Launches Makani Wheat Ale


Kailua‐Kona, Hawaii – Kona Brewing Company’s Makani Wheat Ale is the first craft beer made with honey collected from bees that pollinate the flowers of native Hawaiian koa trees. Makani Wheat Ale is the final beer in the four‐part 2015 “Makana Series” that supports local non‐profits dedicated to protecting Hawaii’s natural resources.

Makani Wheat Ale (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU) will be available on draft only at select locations throughout Hawaii, for approximately three months or while supplies last. The light‐bodied wheat ale gets its touch of sweetness from koa blossom honey, which was harvested earlier in the year from more than 800 acres of legacy koa forest on the slopes of Mauna Kea on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii Island, near Paauilo. The ale is also made from premium two‐row wheat malt with Millennium, Willamette and Hallertauer hops and indigenous yeast that was discovered blowing in the breeze near the Mauna Loa Volcano on Hawaii Island.

The endemic koa tree is of critical ecological importance to Hawaii, forming the habitat for numerous native birds, insects, and other flora and fauna. A portion of sales from Makani Wheat Ale will support the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative (HLRI), which works closely with HLH, a Hawaii Island sustainable forestry company, to plant more than 1.3 million koa, sandalwood and other endangered species across the Hawaiian Islands.

“We’re proud to partner with organizations such as the HLRI and support their efforts in restoring our island’s precious resources,” said Sandi Shriver, head of Kona Brewing Co.’s brewery operations. “During the development of Makani, our team had the opportunity to plant koa trees with the Hawaiian Legacy team. It was an amazing experience, and we hope this special beer will help drive awareness of the importance of our native forests and HLRI’s great work to preserve them.”

Kona Brewing’s desire to give back to the community for its support during the past 21 years was the inspiration for its Makana Series (Makana means “to give” in Hawaiian). A portion of the proceeds from each beer in the series – inspired by Hawaii’s natural surroundings – supports one of four Hawaii‐based non‐profit organizations committed to preserving and protecting Hawaii’s natural resources.

“This will be a special opportunity to taste the first‐ever honey created from Hawaii’s koa tree blossoms. The entire spring production sold out within a few days,” said Jeffrey Dunster, Executive Director, HLRI. “This honey is just one way we are working with agricultural partners to showcase the use of Hawaii lands for economically viable crops that can be produced while supporting environmentally sustainable reforestation. One more example of how responsible businesses can do well while doing good.”

The Makana Series launched in January 2015 with Aina Brown Ale, a brew made with kalo (taro) added to the mash that benefitted Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii. Wela Red Ale, which followed in April, was cold smoked with Kiawe wood and supported Malama Maunalua. The third beer in the series, Kai Golden Ale, was made with deep sea ocean water sourced off the Kona coast and benefitted the Surfrider Foundation.

About Kona Brewing: 

Kona Brewing Company was started in Kailua‐Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island in the spring of 1994 by father and son team Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa, who had a dream to create fresh, local island brews made with spirit, passion and quality. Today, Kona is Hawaii’s largest and favorite craft brewery, known for top‐selling flagship beers Longboard Island Lager and Big Wave Golden Ale and award‐winning innovative small‐batch beers available across the Islands. The Hawaii born and Hawaii‐based craft brewery prides itself on brewing the freshest beer of exceptional quality, closest to market. This helps to minimize its carbon footprint by reducing shipping of raw materials, finished beer and packaging materials.

Kona Brewing has become one of the top craft beer brands in the world, while remaining steadfastly committed to its home market through a strong focus on innovation, sustainability and community outreach. In 2014, the company achieved a milestone in its home state, selling more than 1 million cases in the Islands for the first time in its history. As announced in early 2015, Kona Brewing is investing approximately $15 million to build a new state‐of‐the‐art brewery in Hawaii capable of producing 100,000 barrels (BBLs) per year. The new brewery will be up and running by early 2017.