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One for the road: Kona Brewing Co. marks final batch of beer where it all started

Kona Brewing Co. crafted Thursday its final brew — a hoppy Imperial Castaway IPA — at the site where it all started at the end of Pawai Place more than a quarter-century ago.

Since those early days back in 1994 when Kona Brewing Co. founders Cameron Healy and son, Spoon Khalsa began tinkering with barley, hops, yeast and the bounty of unique flavors Hawaii has to offer, revitalizing the state’s commercial beer industry, the venture has grown exponentially, with Liquid Aloha now recognized and consumed worldwide.

And Kona Brewing Co. continues to grow, starting its next chapter with an expansion to its new state-of-the-art, sustainable and energy-efficient brewing and canning facility where brewers began crafting beer at the end of February, ensuring a continual supply of Kona-brewed suds. The 30,000-square-foot, 100,000-barrel capacity brewery, located just down the road from the current brewery and pub, is expected to open this summer. Though the brewery is moving, the restaurant will remain at the end of Pawai Place.

“It’s a nostalgic day and a day of moving forward,” Healy, who now serves as an adviser, told team members as the final brew’s barley mashed with hot water, preparing for the next stage: a good boil to render the sugars for fermentation.

Brewery Operations Manager Ryan McVeigh, who’s worked for Kona Brewing Co. since 2005, said the final brew will likely be on tap this month.

“In two weeks, when it’s all done, we‘ll put it into kegs and then move tanks out,” he said, “and then we’ll be fully transitioned.”

“It’s a little bit bittersweet to be at the end. I’ve had a lot of really great memories here,” he said. “This is my 16th year — it’s kind of sad to see it go because I have spent a lot of time here and met a lot of great people and made a lot of great beer. But we’re so excited for the future and while it’s sad to see this one close down, it’s time has come and we’ve done so much more than was ever expected out of this brewery that I’m very thankful for that,” he continued.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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