Locked In: Sales of Kona Big Wave Up 66 Percent


The opportunity to deploy a good pun never escapes the folks over at Craft Brew Alliance.

A “swelling” number of beer drinkers are purchasing the company’s Hawaiian-themed session brand, Kona Big Wave, according to a press release. Citing recent IRI data, CBA said that annual Big Wave Golden Ale sales are up 66 percent – or as the company also put it: “four times the growth rate of the entire craft beer category.”

Sales of Big Wave represent nearly 25 percent of golden ale category growth, according to the statement.

Talk about shooting the curl.

Kona, which over the last three years expanded its reach into all 50 states, is CBA’s highest volume brand. In 2014, it accounted for more than 300,000 barrels of total CBA shipments, which totaled more than 790,000. The publicly traded craft beer company also produces and markets the Widmer, Redhook and Omission lines of craft beer as well as Square Mile Cider.

A totally tubular press release with additional details is below, dude.

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (July 7, 2015) –Swelling numbers of beer drinkers across the U.S. are reaching for great-tasting craft beers that are big on flavor but lighter in alcohol this summer, and one of the most popular choices is Kona Brewing Company’s Big Wave Golden Ale. Three years ago, Big Wave could only be found on draught in its home state of Hawaii, but now beer drinkers can enjoy a bottle or pint in all 50 states due to the rapidly increasing consumer demand for the uniquely Hawaiian golden ale.


Since its debut on the mainland in 2012, Big Wave has been recognized for its distinctive tropical aroma and citrus hop blend.  In 2014, the North American Brewers Association awarded Big Wave a gold medal in the light ale category.  A year earlier, the beer won top honors in the U.S. Open Beer Championships, Great International Beer and Cider Competition, and International Brewing Awards.

According to recent data released by Information Resources, Inc. (“IRI”), a leading market research company, Big Wave sales have grown 66.2 percent in the past year, representing more than four times the growth of the entire craft beer category, which grew 16 percent in the same time period. Additionally, Big Wave’s growth represents nearly a quarter of the growth in the golden ale category, which is the fastest growing craft beer category in the U.S. Once considered a “gateway beer” by many in the craft beer world, today’s golden ales are more complex with nuanced flavor profiles and aromas.

“It’s no surprise that Big Wave has become the beer of the choice for beer drinkers seeking out distinctive, flavorful brews that are lighter and more sessionable to suit a wide range of drinking occasions. Big Wave has a unique tropical hop aroma and flavor, with a clean, refreshing finish,” said Aaron Marion, Kona Brewing Company brand manager.  “There’s a lot of interest in Big Wave, not only in the U.S., but overseas as well. We have fans from as far away as Iceland, Australia, and Japan enjoying Liquid Aloha in the form of a cold pint of Big Wave.”

Big Wave Golden Ale is available nationwide and in 19 countries.

About the Beer

Big Wave is a lighter-bodied golden ale with a tropical hop aroma and flavor, creating a smooth, easy drinking refreshing ale. The use of caramel malt contributes to the golden hue of this beer, and our special blend of hops provides a bright quenching finish. ABV 4.4%, IBU 20.

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.

For more information call 808-334-BREW or visit www.KonaBrewingCo.com.