Kona Brewers Festival: Good News in Uncertain Time

The Ke Kai Ala Foundation wishes to extend deep gratitude to our Kona Brewers Festival ohana for stepping up with generosity and aloha. The March 14th fundraising event was called off two days prior as news of the fast-moving pandemic was breaking.

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“At the time, it was a hard decision, but now, looking back, we absolutely made the right call to put people first. We are happy to share that even though we had already incurred many expenses, we raised $90,000. All pre-approved Beneficiaries will be receiving 75% of projected fundraising goals,” said Kona Brewers Festival Director Kate Jacobson.  

Mahalo to the Kona Brewing Company who donated $100,000, The Healy Foundation’s matching grant of $25,000, Southwest Airlines gift of $16,000, dozens of other business sponsors and the hundreds of fans who donated their tickets to fund important community work supporting the environment, culture and youth. 

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“We are so impressed by the agility and resilience of our Beneficiaries who are moment by moment, reinventing how to deliver programs and services. This is not easy to do, and we have great respect for them being so strong and smart in these extraordinary times,” said Jacobson. “We understand the challenge of uncertainty and that now, more than ever, our commitment to collaboration and sustainable practices needs to be at the forefront of how we move forward.” 

“What a lot of people don’t know about the Kona Brew Fest is that it is first and foremost, a community celebration. Organizers don’t put on a festival, our community does. We just connect people. The spirit of community is what founded this event, and especially in times like these, the community together is what sustains it,” said Summer Carrick, KBF Organizer. With more than 500 volunteers, donated food and beer, and everyone chipping in with their gifts, the festival relies on the generosity of island business, community groups, and the people to make the beloved gathering a success for 25 years.  “To see the support rolling in since the day we announced the cancellation, from the homebrewers to the fans sending in checks, it really shows how much this event means to our island Ohana.”

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The Kona Brewers Festival has made emergency grants available through tough times before, from the 2011 tsunami to the Kilauea eruptions of 2018, the spirit of generosity is central to the work. The Ke Kai Ala Foundation Chair Mattson Davis asked organizers to “Dig deep, be generous, and this too shall pass, we will get through this. The State of Hawaii is very resilient, has gotten through so many things, even when our economy is so dependent on tourism. There is going to be a lot called upon you in the next months. Your friends may reach out to you. Be creative.” 

“One of the surprising lessons for me is how festivals contribute to social cohesion and positivity. We all need to stay home and safe now, so we can gather together again in celebration of each other and our beautiful island life,” said Jacobson.

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Organizers plan to make the popular Kona Brewers Festival merchandise available for sale and will be announcing a retail page for soon at www.konabrewersfestival.com. The website also has a complete list of sponsors and beneficiaries

In looking forward to the 25th anniversary on March 13, 2021, Jacobson said “we are inspired by this raw awareness of our interconnectedness and learn new ways to create a sustainable future that fully supports each and every one of us”.

Kona Brew Festival Ranks in Top 10 List for Road Trips for Beer

The Kona Brew Festival was ranked in the top 10 list of beer festivals by the folks at Road Trips for Beer in a post written this morning they state:

What better place to enjoy a winter beer festival than in paradise? This 16th annual celebration of The Aloha State’s craft brewing heritage will feature tastings from local and U.S. West Coast breweries, as well as plenty of island-style cuisine from 25 Hawaiian chefs. And, yes, at some point you may be called upon to hula. http://www.konabrewersfestival.com/

This is one of the Big Island Festivals that I have yet to attend and hopefully this year I might be able to check it out.

The Kona Brewers Festival is an annual event held each March designed to promote the craft brewing revolution in Hawaii, encourage professional brewers and chefs to work together as an industry and have a positive economic and environmental effect on the community.

Media Release:

The 16th annual Kona Brewers Festival indulges craft beer aficionados on Hawaii’s Big Island Saturday, March 12, 2011, tapping up 70 types of ales and lagers served alongside a cornucopia of island style cuisine from 25 Hawaii chefs. The sell-out event, presented by Sunetric, Keauhou Veterinary Hospital and First Hawaiian Bank, features craft beer, gourmet food, live music and entertainment outdoors at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach

Hotel luau grounds in Kailua-Kona from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. The Kona Brewers Festival is the headline event of a multi-day celebration that includes a beer and food pairing dinner at the Keauhou Beach Resort Thursday, March 10; a charity golf tournament at Big Island Country Club Friday, March 11; and a Walk/Run for Hops race Saturday morning, March 12.

Kona Brewers Festival – Saturday, March 12

Each of 35 breweries from Hawaii and the mainland United States taps up two types of beer, ranging in style and flavor to delight the palate of every craft beer connoisseur. Chefs from 25 of the Big Island’s top restaurants serve sweet and savory tastes of island-style food, from fresh fish and barbecued meats to decadent desserts. A hula and oli (chant) kick off the event. Two stages with live music entertain festival-goers throughout the day. The annual Trash Fashion Show, designed to raise awareness of the importance of recycling, shows off whimsical attire made entirely from recycled material.

Tickets to the Kona Brewers Festival Main Event on Saturday are available in advance only. Cost is $55 and includes a commemorative event mug, eight four ounce brew tasting coupons, unlimited samplings of gourmet cuisine and an afternoon of entertainment. Tickets are available for purchase online in mid- January at www.KonaBrewersFestival.com ($5 fee).

Brewers’ Pa’ina Beer and Food Pairing Dinner – Thursday, March 10

A special beer and food pairing dinner, The Brewers’ Pa’ina, jump starts the weekend of craft beer tasting Thursday, March 10, from 6 to 9 p.m., hosted by the Keauhou Beach Resort. The feast is served oceanside under the stars, and each course is expertly paired with a different Kona Brewing Company beer. Many of the dishes incorporate beer as an ingredient. Tickets, which include unlimited beer, food and gratuity, are $60. Check the festival website beginning mid-January for purchasing information,  www.KonaBrewersFestival.com.

Kona Brewers Fest Golf Open – Friday, March 11

The fifth annual Kona Brewers Fest Golf Open tees off Friday, March 11, with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. at Big Island Country Club. Golfers of all levels are welcome to play at this four-person scramble using the Peoria scoring system, a popular format for one-day friendly tournaments because it evens the competition. The event benefits Hawaii Montessori School at Kona. The $150 ticket price includes 18 holes of golf, greens fees and cart, welcome bag, continental breakfast, box lunch and awards ceremony with pupus. Check the festival website beginning mid-January for registration information, www.KonaBrewersFestival.com.

Run for the Hops 5K / 10K – Saturday, March 12

The day of beer tasting takes off with a running start at the “Run for the Hops” 5K / 10K run/walk on Saturday, March 12, at 7:30 a.m. Presented by Bike Works and benefiting Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii (PATH), the run begins and ends at Kona Brewing Company. Entry fee is $25 and includes a commemorative T-shirt, refreshments, award ceremony and beer tasting following the race. Check the festival website for updates on registration information, www.KonaBrewersFestival.com.

Kona Brewers Festival Homebrew Competition

Also planned in conjunction with festival events is the Kona Brewers Festival Homebrew

Competition, a local competition sanctioned by the American Homebrewers Association. Judges evaluate the entries using the AHA National Style Guidelines for 28 different styles of beers, meads and ciders. For information visit http://konabrewcontest.googlepages.com.

The Kona Brewers Festival is a community fundraising event made possible by the Bill Healy Foundation that promotes the craft brewery revolution in Hawaii and encourages professional brewers and chefs to work together. The event raises funds for environmental, educational and cultural organizations. It has raised $400,000 over the past 15 years. For information on any of the festival events, visit www.KonaBrewersFestival.com or call 808-331-3033.

Kona Brewers Festival… Saturday, March 13th

2009 Kona Brewers Festival Next Saturday


An annual event designed to promote the microbrewery revolution in Hawai’i, to encourage professional brewers and chefs to work together as an industry and to have a significant and positive economic and environmental effect on the community.

We invite you to the 14th Annual Kona Brewers Festival Saturday, March 14, 2009, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.
On the shores of Kailua Bay on the Big Island of Hawai’i
King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel
75-5660 Palani Road, Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i