A place needs to fulfill certain criteria to be considered a culinary destination. First, is there great food that demonstrates a sense of place? Second, is anybody producing high-quality local beverages? This isn’t as much of a given, but could easily translate as coffee, tea, spirits or beer. Maui isn’t nearly as populous as most places, but they do have some home-grown foods that are uniquely Hawaiian, and Maui Brewing Co. founder Garrett Marrero may be a San Diego native, but he’s become the leading ambassador for Hawaiian beer, brewing every ounce on Maui and featuring local produce like coconut, pineapple and breadfruit.
Marrero and co-founder Melanie Oxley have a Lahaina brewery and tasting room and a larger facility slated for Kihei. Maui’s brewpub in northern Lahaina’s Kahana Gateway mall opened in 2008 and continues to showcase “handcrafted ales and lagers brewed with aloha.”
We later joined Marrero for an interview at the Lahaina production facility, which smelled terrific, since staffers were in the midst of hand-toasting coconut for their Coconut Porter. Last year, Maui Brewing Co. produced 18,000 barrels of beer in their 25-barrel, two-vessel brewhouse, which has grown so popular on-island and off that they’re running at a 60-90 day back-order, which will change once the Kihei production facility opens.
Maui Brewing Co. continues to collaborate and innovate, working with breweries like Dogfish Head, but the brewery’s primary goal remains the same, to capture flavor (and Hawaii) in a can (or keg). For that, they warrant destination status.