Honolulu (KHON2) – Kona Brewing Hawai’i has returned to its roots, with operations that are now independent in Hawai’i .
Billy Smith, President of Kona Brewing Hawai’i, talked about the company’s journey from a small, modest brewery start-up in 1994. “It’s been quite a journey,” says Smith. “Craft beer wasn’t much of a thing in Hawai’i in the ’90s when our founders decided to start the brewery. We are now where we are due to many years of hard work, humbling lessons, and just an overall desire to continue to grow and improve.”
Smith adds, “When we became part of something larger 10 years ago, it allowed us to continue to learn ways to scale up while not losing the quality of the beer. That can be a tricky thing in growing as a brewery. Our recent move to independence in Hawai’i is a homecoming. We’re back where we started, but now with all the cool stuff we learned by being part of something larger.”
While there are changes, the focus is the same: to build out its new brewery in Kona. “From a business operations standpoint, nothing is changing much,” shares Smith. “We will still operate as a local company with our entire team here in Hawaii still intact.”
Kona Brewing is also working hard to find new ways for its two pubs to adapt to this new normal during Covid. Big Wave Golden Ale is still popular with locals and the Kona Island Seltzer launched in cans earlier this year has been a hit.
Smith’s favorite Kona beer is Big Wave, which he likes pairing with chicken.
Coincidentally, Kona Brewing is test brewing Big Wave at its new 100-thousand barrel brewery in Kailua-Kona.
While many events that Kona Brewing normally supports in the Islands have been canceled, Kona Brewing Company continues to support community groups and causes through its Makana program and looks forward to its Hawai’i homecoming.