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TheBuzz

BY ERIKA ENGLE

Tuesday, May 14, 2002



art
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Charlan Miyashiro ate lunch with her daughter, Alana, yesterday at Brew Moon in Kakaako. The restaurant and brewery's owners, Brennan and Peta Fielding, have sold their share in the restaurant and departed for Australia.




A new Moon

An ownership shift at Brew Moon
has brought other changes


The Fieldings are over the moon -- and they're outta here as the restaurant launches changes on various levels.

Brennan and Peta Fielding last month sold their stake in Honolulu Brewing Co. LLC, the parent company of Brew Moon Restaurant & Micro Brewery.

Their onward and upward move took them Down Under, where Peta has family and they plan to open a new business.

"There were many factors influencing our decision to sell and move," Brennan said, "the main one being the opportunity for us to establish our own brewery operation in Australia, a market which is only just beginning to open up to small-scale brewing."

The Fieldings plan a casual concept focused more on beer than on food, to be based in Queensland where they will also live, enabling them to "indulge our surfing and kayaking passions," he said.

A confidentiality agreement prevented Fielding from disclosing the name of the silent partner involved in the deal or the value of the transaction, but he confirmed that the exchange rate between U.S. and Australian dollars was a positive.

"We did indeed make a hefty return on our Brew Moon investment," he said, enabling them to relocate to Australia with a nice nest egg. "It will go quite a way toward establishing our family and our business here."

A U.S. dollar was equivalent to about $1.83 Australian, at yesterday's exchange rate.

Meanwhile, back in Honolulu, Marcus Bender has taken over as the majority owner and manager of Honolulu Brewing Co. LLC. While he also declined to divulge transactional details he enthusiastically volunteered other information.

"We're launching a new menu in 10 days," he said, but the changes are more about additions to, rather than subtractions from, favorites in feed and grog.

The lunch menu will offer more sandwiches and salads and the nighttime pupu menu has been expanded.

The beer crackers stay, as do the jambalayas and curries.

New head brewer Greg Yount, formerly of Alii Brewing Co. and Palau Brewing Co., could have been the deal breaker. The transaction was contingent on Fielding fielding the replacement brewer.

Bender is confident Yount will maintain Fielding's award-winning recipes as well as create some of his own.

"He has many years' experience in brewing beer," Bender said. "Brennan gave him his Good Housekeeping stamp of approval."

The menu itself will also change. Called an "eclipse" menu, it was designed by Yoko Suzuki of Delphi International.

Renovation of the restaurant is also underway.

Partitions have been removed from the back to open the space up for parties; the entrance will be moved forward, closer to the entrance of Ryan's Grill.

"We're never going to close, we do this work at odd hours," Bender said.

Speaking of odd hours, the Moon is a popular nightspot and Bender has maintained its schedule of live entertainment.

Live music including blues, acoustic, jazz and R&B is offered from 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and from 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday with late night DJ entertainment, called the "Dark Side of the Moon."

Bender and Fielding recently received notice that Honolulu Brewing Co. is up for an award at the World Beer Cup, staged by the Colorado-based Association of Brewers. Of 1,238 entries from 38 countries, "Brew Moon is one of the top three winners," Bender said. It is the only Hawaii finalist. Winners will be announced June 12 in Aspen.

Being in the beer business was "always my little dream," Bender said, "and this is about the smallest brewery that I could own."

Wearing his Honolulu Brewing Co. hat, he avoids the huge investment of packaging costs he encountered at his former business, Hawaiian Natural Water Co.

"I'm still vice chairman of the company and still involved basically in the direction of the company and overseas sales efforts," he said.

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Correction

Brennan and Peta Fielding were investors in Brew Moon parent company Honolulu Brewing Co. LLC. Marcus Bender and two other silent partners established the company in April 2001, with Bender to serve as majority owner and member manager. The May 14 TheBuzz column in Hawaii Inc. mischaracterized Bender’s ownership status. Also, the eclipse menu referred to in the column is part of the overall menu.






Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached
at: eengle@starbulletin.com




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