Business

New Brewery Owner Awaiting Permit, Will Retool

December 31, 2013, 1:29 PM HST
* Updated December 31, 2:39 PM
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Hawaii Nui and Mehana Brewery in Hilo will be shut down Jan. 1, while the new owner waits for a permit and remodels the East Kawili Street facility.

DeMare Enterprises, Inc., bought the brewery’s assets in a federal bankruptcy sale in April. Company President Dr. Paul DeMare, a radiation oncologist on Oahu, is overseeing the transition, according to a company release.

The brewery still needs a permit from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, DeMare said. During the interim, employees will be trained to operate new processing equipment. The brewery is expected to resume production in March.

DeMare paid $350,000 for the brewery’s assets in the bankruptcy sale and plans to invest about $500,000 in the start-up of the business, said Deron Akiona, vice president of operations.

There will be no more brown bottles, however, when the beer starts brewing again. From now on all the brewery’s products will be packaged in aluminum cans and kegs, said Akiona, which will be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than bottles.

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A new brew is also being developed for release this summer, which DeMare said would “honor our hometown,” Hilo.

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