Maui Brewing To Build New Brewery

Like many of his craft brewing brethren, Maui Brewing Co. founder Garrett Marrero is struggling to meet the growing consumer thirst for his beer.

Marrero, who started Maui Brewing in 2005, is just two weeks away from closing on a new piece of land that will triple his current footprint.

“We have always had more demand than supply,” Marrero said. “We want to maintain that, but we are so far behind the demand that we need to open a new brewery.”

Marrero said the new brewery site is approximately 35,000 square feet and could be operational within the next two years. It will boast an initial capacity of 40,000 barrels and is capable of being scaled to over 100,000.

The project, which Marrero estimates will cost between $10 and $15 million, is being fueled by existing cash flow and bank loans.

“I like working for myself,” he joked. “I much prefer bank loans to equity.”

The additional space will allow Maui Brewing the chance to explore more line extensions, like the recently released La Perouse White, which Marrero said has already seen lots of positive feedback since its release in early March.

“We were planning to only release 200 barrels but quickly realized we needed more,” Marrero said.

Maui produced an extra 100 barrels of La Perouse and at the same time made the decision to brew 400-barrel batches of forthcoming limited releases.

The first of those releases – collaborations with Jolly Pumpkin and Dogfish Head – mark the first time Maui Brewing will offer limited release beer throughout an entire year. The company released Flyin’ HI.P.HAY in May of last year in an attempt to test the viability of a special-release business model.

“We wanted to see what would happen,” said Marrero. “The real reason we wanted to launch that beer was to test how to launch a limited release.”

Marrero said the next eight quarterly releases are already scheduled.

“We brewed 52 beers last year, but the public doesn’t see those unless they come to Hawaii,” said Marrero. “We decided we want to show the public what we can do.”

Maui Brewing will make only 1500 barrels of limited release beer this year, representing less than 7 percent of its anticipated volume — Roughly 23,000 barrels.

The company’s production volume grew 61 percent last year, from 11,000 barrels in 2010 to nearly 18,000 barrels. The company also enjoyed a healthy 41 percent growth in its home market. Leading the growth were core offerings like Bikini Blonde and Coconut Porter.

“If I only brewed Coconut Porter, that might be enough to service the mainland,” said Marrero. “Bikini Blonde is our front-runner on the islands.”

Maui entered three new markets last year, including Arizona, Nevada and Texas. The brand is currently distributed in 11 states and will soon be available in Virginia.

Upcoming Releases:

Sobrehumano Palena ‘Ole: A collaboration with Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales.

This red ale brewed with Lilikoi and Michigan cherries is ruby red in color, tart and refreshing in flavor. A standard fermentation brewed on Maui, and another at Jolly Pumpkin where it will be barrel aged and soured. Summer 2012 release.

ABV: 6%

Liquid Breadfruit: A collaboration with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

An imperial golden ale brewed with local breadfruit and and toasted papaya seeds. Using “DNA,” a special yeast strain captured outside the Dogfish Head brewery in Miltiom, DE. Fall 2012 release.

ABV: 7.5%

Aloha B’Ak’Tun: An imperial Brussels stout brewed with ‘Mayan’ chocolate.

Belgian yeast, cacao nibs, chocolate, cinnamon and a bit of chipotle are combined to create a very special brew.

ABV: 8.2%

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