Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Kona Brewing Makes Waves With Sustainability Efforts and New Brewery

kona brewing co beer
Kona Pub and Brewery/Facebook

Hawaii has a goal to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 and, naturally, beer is playing its part.

The brewing industry is certainly one of the most sustainably-minded industries (out of necessity, if nothing else, due to the large amount of resources that go into making a delicious brew). Hawaii’s Kona Brewing Co. is taking that to the next level with sun-powered beer.

Kona’s new brewery in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island will include a solar-plus-battery storage system in partnership with EnSync Energy Systems and Holu Energy, capturing enough sun power to create nearly 7,000 cans of beer per hour. Those beers, of course, include Longboard Island Lager and Big Wave Golden Ale, which make their way to all 50 states. You may also remember one of Kona’s newer creations, a light beer they’ve named Kahana.

The solar power will generate approximately a quarter of the brewery’s electricity needs. This is doubly impactful, as Hawaii has the highest energy costs in the nation.

“The installation offers Kona Brewing a fully-integrated resource to meet its dual goals of using clean energy and reducing energy costs,” Holu Energy president Ted Peck said.

The new brewery, which is slated to be finished in 2019, will be a 30,000-square-foot facility down the street from its original location. The expansion will take the brewery from pumping out 14,000 barrels of beer annually to 100,000.

Kona Solar Battery New Brewery Infographic-1
Kona Brewing Co.

The sustainable electrical portion of the project includes a 336-kilowatt roof-mounted solar panel system and a 122-kilowatt-hour battery system. The latter stores energy during the daytime for use in dark hours and allows the brewery to participate in Hawaiian Electric’s demand response programs, which will help offset peak charges and aid in the local power grid’s resiliency. The project will also include a way for the brewery to recapture carbon dioxide (CO2), a byproduct of the fermentation that can be use to carbonate beer later in the process.

“Since it formed over 20 years ago, Kona Brewing has been committed to making locally brewed beers in an environmentally responsible way,” Kona Brewing sustainability manager Julia Person said. “This partnership demonstrates how we embrace innovation to maintain our commitment to the ‘Aloha spirit’ and the larger Hawaiian community.”

If you want to follow the construction progress live, you can watch it right here.

Editors' Recommendations

Pat Evans
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Pat Evans is a writer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, focusing on food and beer, spirits, business, and sports. His full…
Sierra Nevada and Breweries Everywhere are Brewing Beer to Help California Wildfire Survivors
sierra nevada resilience butte county proud ipa

Barely a week after the Camp Fire — the deadliest wildfire in California history, during which 88 people died and over 150,000 acres of Butte County in Northern California were burned and —  Californians are still, obviously, reeling. Sierra Nevada Brewery, which is located in Chico, California, has decided to step up to help in the relief process and they’ve asked every brewery in America to help.

While Chico was not hit hard by the wildfire, it is located just 11 miles west of Paradise, the town that was utterly destroyed by the fire. In a letter on the brewery’s website, Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman outlined the brewery’s plan:

Read more
Why Sour Beers Are the New Gateway Drink into the Craft Brewing World
sour beers craft beer gateway brew sea quench dog fish

The word "sour" comes with some serious baggage. Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is the stomach-curdling notion of sour milk. Or how about “sour grapes,” a reference to a poor loser? A grouchy, sullen old man might be called a “sourpuss.” Given this background and context, it’s no wonder some might associate the style of “sour beer” with these overwhelmingly negative connotations.
Sour Beer Styles

Oud Bruin

Read more
New Holland Brewing’s Dragon’s Milk Stout Gets a Delicious Makeover
Dragon's Milk

The brewers at New Holland Brewing have good reason to be proud of Dragon’s Milk, the bourbon barrel-aged stout that is now the top-selling beer in its category. Such a significant accomplishment calls for a bit of fanfare, which is why New Holland just unveiled a refresh of the Dragon’s Milk branding (and a contest centered on telling your story). This celebrated stout has a new website, a new packaging scheme, and a renewed emphasis on the beer’s unique logomark. To further cement the beer’s place in New Holland’s pantheon, a new Dragon's Milk Reserve variant, Banana Coconut, is on shelves now.

New Holland has been in the craft beer business for more than 20 years, and it’s not unusual for a trademark beer to emerge over the arc of a brewery’s long career. For Sierra Nevada, the signature brew is its Pale Ale. For Dogfish Head, that beer is 60 Minute IPA. For Oskar Blues, the lynchpin is Dale’s Pale Ale. While New Holland has offered many delicious beers to its customers, it’s hard to deny the impact of Dragon’s Milk. First offered in 2001, Dragon’s Milk was an easily accessible imperial stout when the style wasn’t a beer bar staple. As craft beer’s footprint grew, so did the audience for Dragon’s Milk. For many, this beer is synonymous with the bourbon barrel aged stout category.
A roasty, pitch black stout with a smooth, full mouthfeel, Dragon’s Milk features flavors of vanilla, whiskey, and chocolate. (The whiskey notes found in it help make it great for boilermakers, we must say.) The oak aging allows the intense base elements to mellow and blend into a rich sipper of a beer. The 11 percent alcohol by volume is obvious from the first taste, making no excuses for its heat. The carbonation rolls the beer throughout the drinking experience, moving one flavor ahead of the next, culminating with a sweet, lingering finish.
For a number of years, Dragon’s Milk has also been offered as a "Reserve” series. These Reserve beers feature a base brew that has been augmented with additional spices, fruits, or other additives. Following favorite combinations like Vanilla Chai, Coffee and Chocolate and S’mores, this fall sees the premiere of Banana Coconut.
Banana Coconut Dragon’s Milk melds the flavors imparted from real banana, plantain, and coconut. Those additions, along with the expected chocolate, are evident from the beer’s aroma and lead straight into a similar tasting experience. The beer is thick and creamy with a candy-like sweetness. The coconut is on the mild side, adding just enough flavor to spark the banana and barrel elements.
Dragon’s Milk is available in its new packaging now throughout New Holland’s distribution area. Banana Coconut is also on shelves now in large format bottles, making it perfect for sharing.

Read more