When you think of Hawaii you probably think of beaches and Mai Tais, but you should also think of beer. Hawaii is home to a number of amazing breweries. I recently had the opportunity to visit one of them, Kona Brewing, located on Hawaii’s Big Island.
If you find yourself on the Big Island I definitely recommend stopping by (you can also grab Kona in the airport bar, I learned). A number of the brewery’s beers are also distributed to the United States, so you can get a tiny bit of Aloha no matter where you are.
If you’re not familiar with Kona (I know I definitely wasn’t before my trip), here are a few interesting facts about the brewery worth pointing out.
1) Kona Brewing has been around on the big island since 1994 and is still headquartered where the brand got its roots in Kailuaa-Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island.
2) Some of the leftover grains from Kona’s brewing process are used to make the pizza dough used at the brewery’s brewpub.
3) Kona uses solar energy to help power its brewery on the Big Island. It’s roof-mounted photovoltaic system produces an average of 645 KWh of electricity per day.
4) Kona is owned by Craft Brew Alliance, which also owns Red Hook and Widmer Brothers.
5) While you can find Kona all over the mainland these days, the brewery also makes a number of beers that are only sold at its brewpub, including a beer made in conjunction with the Pink Boots Society brewed exclusively by women.
6) All of Kona’s beers are named after Hawaiian legends or landmarks.
7) Kona is currently in the process of building a new brewery (it had just broke ground when I visited) on the Big Island. Located nearby its current facility, the new brewery will take up a 30,000-square-foot space and will include a 100,000-barrel brewhouse.
8) Kona will start canning on the island for the first time when that new brewery is completed. Currently the beer is only sold in kegs and bottles in Hawaii proper.
9) Kona is currently bottled exclusively on the mainland, so if you grab a bottle on the Big Island you’re actually drinking beer that was put in the bottle and possibly brewed elsewhere. Craft Brew Alliance has breweries in Oregon and New Hampshire that brew Kona.
10) Kona’s Pipeline Porter is brewed with 100% Kona coffee from their neighbor on the Big Island, Cornwell Estate.