FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Keoki Brewing Co. in Lihue gives its spent grain husks to local farmers for animal feed after the sugars are extracted.
Brewing with a conscience
Island breweries go green
A sweet cereal smell spills from the large doors of Keoki Brewing Co. as cracked malt husks swirl around a large round tank.
These grains bring aroma and color to the beer, and brewers seek them out in chocolates or ambers from Germany and Canada.
But beer drinkers aren't the only ones who enjoy their flavor.
So do cows.
Lihue's Keoki, which uses 15,000 to 20,000 pounds of malt a month, gives spent grain husks to local farmers after sugars are extracted for brewing.
"This will still maintain about 2 to 3 percent sugar when it's done, so animals love it," said owner Keith Kinsey.
In April, Kinsey installed an energy-saving water heating and cooling exchange system that allows the brewery to function without air conditioners. He estimates the system will pay for itself in two years.
Keoki is one of several isle breweries implementing new sustainable business practices.
CINDY RUSSELL /
Kona Brewing Co. hired a sustainability coordinator to research and implement a recycling program for its isle brewing operations.
This summer at Maui Brewing Co. in Lahaina, owner Garrett Marrero is adding an 80-kilowatt photovoltaic system that will supply 80 percent of the energy used at his Kahana Gateway Center brewpub and a 57-kilowatt system to cover all the energy consumed at his expanding production facility, where he also cans his beer.
"All the beer will be brewed with the Maui sun," said Marrero, who also will install natural lighting, ceiling fans and compact fluorescent lighting during a renovation of his brewpub next month.
Marrero packages his beers in locally made cans instead of bottles and uses recycled cardboard holders instead of plastic rings.
"It's not only better for the beer, but it's also a more eco-friendly package for our environment where you can now take a good beer to the beach," he said.
Isle brewing giant Kona Brewing Co. hired a sustainability coordinator earlier this year to research and implement a recycling program for the Big Island brewery. The brewery already has cut its trash output by half, said Mattson Davis, president and chief executive.
A decade ago, Kona shifted its bottling operations to the mainland amid concerns that it was not environmentally or economically sustainable to operate a packaging facility here.
"It does not make a sustainable positive carbon footprint," Davis said. "The other models aren't sustainable if you want to grow your brand. Hawaii is not a manufacturing state."