Ward Brew Moon sold to California businessman
Marcus Bender has sold Brew Moon Restaurant & Micro Brewery
in Ward Centres to California businessman David Pierce for undisclosed terms.
The deal closed Monday and did not include Brew Moon's Waikiki location above the Local Motion surfing lifestyle retail store, Bender told TheBuzz. He is mulling over ideas for the Waikiki spot.
Both the Ward and Waikiki Brew Moon operations were listed for sale at $850,000 in December.
"I've owned it for six and a half years and decided I just couldn't make a go of it," he said.
"We were on a good trajectory" before the area's redevelopment, during which parking stalls were lost and quick-service eateries were added to the Auahi Street shopping and dining complex.
Adding to the challenge is something Bender, a career-long beverage-bloke, calls, "the dilution factor."
He referred to "share of stomach," as in market share, among local clientele. The local population has always been his target audience, "but when you open 3,500 new seats in Waikiki and God knows all the other stuff that's going on around us, like P.F. Chang's and so many new eateries," more mature venues will feel the impact, he said.
Pierce, from San Diego, was in meetings and could not be reached by deadline.
But Bender said Pierce seemed undaunted. "Everybody that comes in has their own view," Bender said. "Everybody's got a pair of eyes and can see what's going on." Bender and Pierce went over the company's financials, "but he has his own plan ... and I'm his biggest fan," said Bender.
Brew Moon has also not been Bender's sole focus. For about the last three years, he and other business partners have been busy developing and launching Kai Vodka and Kai Lychee Vodka, billed as the world's fist premium rice vodka and the first lychee-flavored vodka.
"This allows me to 100-percent focus on Kai and pass the baton," on Brew Moon, which Bender bought out of bankruptcy in 2001. It had opened in 1998.
"I bought it because I wanted my own brewery," he said, based on earlier experience as an importer of Hinano Beer, from Tahiti.
Bender had the option to close the restaurant, "but you know, I like to see things live," he said.
Pierce is "a hands-on guy," with a food-and-beverage background, he said. He will be, "a proactive owner. I was the owner, but not an operator. I was a customer," Bender said, laughing.
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