Kona Brewing Co.

September 20, 2011

Just another place with sand between its toes

Kona Brewing Co. was started by a father and son team that moved to the big island of Hawaii from outside of Oregon. They produced their first two beers in 1995 (both of which are still being produced today) and now has eleven beers regularly on tap at their main brewpub with around five seasonals and a few guests.

Though you will find Kona beers in stores on the mainland these are actually not brewed in Hawaii. Kona have partnerships with a few breweries on the mainland which do their brewing for distribution through the rest of the US. They use the same hops, malt and yeast as well as making modifications to the local water to match the water in Hawaii. This helps drop distribution costs as well as ensure the beer is fresh when it gets into your hands.

Like many businesses on the islands in Hawaii Kona goes to extra efforts for sustainability. Spent grain is passed on to ranchers and used to bake pizza doughs and breads for the restaurant, they recycle water from A/C units and reclaim heat from the brewing process to heat water. Producing its beer on the mainland is another part of this, drastically reducing their transportation costs and carbon footprint.

Kona have three locations around Hawaii now. Their main brewery and brewpub is in Kailua on the big island. A basic tour of the facility is free and this actually comes with free samplers of four of their beers. They have a second restaurant in Koko Marina on Oahu as well as a pub in the Honolulu airport.