It’s Not Just About ‘Survival’ for Marrero & Craft ‘Ohana

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the US.
Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers, Sales Directors, QCQA Managers and others each weekend to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.

Garrett W. Marrero, CEO/Co-Founder, Maui Brewing Co. & CEO, Craft ‘Ohana (Maui Brewing/Modern Times)

BREWER: What do you feel have been new challenges in your position that have helped push you and make you better at your job?
MARRERO: My team challenges me every day to be a better leader and find ways to best support each teammate. Over my career, I’ve worked in nearly every position in the company — and I’ve learned a ton along the way. As we’ve grown, I’ve had to shift from hands-on everything to teaching, trusting, and supporting. Leading rather than micromanaging every detail. If most people in my position are honest, you reach a point where you know your team is better in their role than you ever could be trying to do it all. I’m really working towards being the strategic leader, steering the ship if you will, and getting involved in the tactical where I’m best suited. It’s funny how you’re really good at things you like to do and not so much at the rest!

BREWER: Why did you enter the craft beer industry and what makes you love being a part of it and staying in it?
MARRERO: For the love of beer, of course! Nearly 18 years in and having just grown our family with the addition of Modern Times, I’m even more engaged and re-invigorated. I’m excited about what our teams can accomplish by putting our minds together. Fun fact: we brewed our first ever hazy years ago as a collab with Modern Times when their team visited us in Kihei!

​BREWER: What are some recent trends in brewing that you’ve tried or are excited about trying?
MARRERO: Glad to see that glitter is gone. All joking aside, I have always challenged us to be innovators and not trend followers. Some of our new equipment does allow us to really push the limits of innovation. I’m excited about not only the new beverages we can create but how we can further integrate local ingredients. I am super excited about Direct Air Capture too. This will be an important technology, especially in remote areas going forward.

​BREWER: ​What was your business’s greatest accomplishment during the past year, and what are your goals for your brewery this year?
MARRERO: This past year was, as expected, one of the most difficult years I’ve seen in my 18-year craft career. I knew that emerging from the pandemic was going to be far worse than anything seen during it. As a team, we spent a great deal of time during COVID finding ways to evolve and develop a plan to come out of the pandemic like a rocket ship. We were not interested in “survival.” As a result, we’ve seen amazing growth and success for our brands and our people. We completed the acquisition of Modern Times, a brand, a brewery, a roastery, and an amazing team that we’ve always held in high regard. We’re beyond excited at the growing ‘ohana and our future together.

​BREWER: ​What are some changes in the industry that you’ve observed in the past few years, and how has your business adapted to stay competitive?
MARRERO: Labor and supply chain has been the hardest on us. We’ve had to pivot and change almost everything. Most notably, the pandemic-related supply chain, logistics, and labor issues have made brewing in Hawaii nearly impossible and certainly not fiscally responsible for any measurable mainland distribution. As such, we’ve contracted with Avery on the mainland to produce our cores and fill the demand. A home base of operations on the mainland made more sense than ever. With the Modern Times acquisition, we’re looking to brew there as well. We’ve also invested heavily in automation and efficiency to do more with less labor. For example, we brought in a blender, a DAW skid, and “hired” our first two robots to work on the mix pack line. Scale and efficiency going forward will be critical if you’re a distributed brewery.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.