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Hawaii Hops

Wine has gotten most of the attention from foodies, but suddenly, everyone is throwing a beer-tasting dinner. Here’s a look at the numbers behind the suds:



• 96 cents per gallon

Hawaii’s tax on bottled beer, one of the highest rates in the country. Draft beer is a bit cheaper, with a tax rate of 52 cents per gallon. What do these numbers mean to you? You’re paying about $2.50 a case, just in tax.

photo courtesy of Kona Brewing Co.

• 1979

The year Primo brewery and bottling operations were moved from Pearl City to the Mainland. In 1998, then-owner Schlitz Brewing Co. stopped making Primo.

• 1993

The year the Hawaiian Homebrewers Association was founded.

• 3,500 pounds

The weight of a new, 80-barrel fermenting tank added this summer to Kona Brewing Co.’s Kailua-Kona facility. The 18-foot-tall tank will allow the brewery to boost its production by 18 percent.

• 8 breweries in Hawaii

“Every island except Lanai and Molokai has a brewery,” says local author Cheryl Tsutsumi, whose book, The Hawaii Beer Book, is due out in October. Her book contains tips on home brewing, recipes for cooking with beer, interviews with beer-can collectors, local festivals and the best places to enjoy beer in the Islands.

• 2 times

Hawaii quaffs twice the amount of imported beer brands than Idaho and Maine, and five times more than Alabama.

• 1876

The year Sapporo—a staple at Island Japanese restaurants—began as a company. The brand is undergoing a makeover for the 21st century, and even commissioned limited-edition Sapporo clothing to give to hipster tastemakers across the country. Have the placements worked? Well, the beer’s sales are up 15 percent.


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Honolulu Magazine September 2018
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