Any craft brewing enthusiast on Maui has surely paid a visit to the Kohola Brewery taproom in Lahaina. Between the relaxing atmosphere and delicious beer it’s one of the better spots to enjoy a drink on Maui’s West Side. Unfortunately, Kohola Brewery has been struggling to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The trouble for Kohola began when all non-essential businesses like restaurants, bars, and retail stores were forced to shut down in March. This caused Kohola Brewery to close their tap room, which is one of the biggest sources of revenue for them. The team at Kohola still had their local distribution network for cans and bottles, but without tourists, and with Maui residents purchasing less beer, they saw demand drop in some areas by as much as 90%.
After more than a month of being completely shut down, Kohola closed its doors, laid off all the employees, and stopped making beer entirely. The goal was to wait out the pandemic and reopen at a later date, but as the shut down continued Kohola edged closer and closer to bankruptcy.
Three months after closing, the team at Kohola Brewery were connected with Hawaii investors Mary Anderson, Greg Lang, and Julie and Greg Brown. Together they provided Kohola with enough funds to wipe out their debt, reopen their doors, and have a financial runway that will allow them to keep operating until the end of the pandemic. Along with the investors mentioned above, some of Kohola’s suppliers and partners have also kicked in funds to help them recover from the impact COVID-19 has had on their business.
“Kohola brewery makes excellent craft beers and has a strong local following. The products quickly became some of our favorites. We didn’t want to see a loss of the startup work, nor the loss of a popular local brand. We see this as an exciting opportunity to fund the next phase of growth for Kohola,” said Mary Anderson and Greg Lang from Lahaina.
“We’re excited about helping Kohola recover and expand its presence to the rest of the state and beyond, Our decades of experience doing business on the islands will ensure the company can truly scale,” said Julie and Greg Brown.
In the coming weeks you can expect Kohola Brewery to once again begin making and serving some of your favorite local brews like the Talk Story Pale Ale. The taproom has a tentative reopening date 3 weeks from now, so be sure to keep an eye on their website for the latest updates.