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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Do you know where your beer comes from?

Kona Brewing makes good beer, I can attest to that. I especially like their Castaway IPA and their "seasonal" Barlywine (it seems to be in season more often than not). You can only get these styles at their brew pubs, however, so sorry to all you folks who aren't on Oahu or the Big Island (in Kona - Duh!). You can get several Kona Brewing beers around the country however, and I recommend you check them out. Just don't expect those bottled beers to be made with pure Hawaiian spring water though.

Kona Brewing, along with many small craft breweries, outsource a portion of their brewing. This is no different than any company that outsources production, and shouldn't come as a surprise. Outsourcing is a valid, and widely used, business operations strategy. It might come as a surprise to some beer drinkers, but it's a common practice. An article in the latest issue of Hawaii Business magazine notes that Kona Brewing has contracted with Widmer Brothers in Oregon and Red Hook in New Hampshire to brew and bottle its beer. Even the bottled beer in Kona's home state of Hawaii is brewed and bottled on the mainland.

Kona Brewing has developed strong partnerships with their contract brewers, something that many companies can learn when working with their contract manufacturers. Kona Brewing controls the raw materials and is highly involved in the manufacturing process, not just inspecting the finished product (see my post last post on China recalls).

Good beer and a good lesson in excellence in operations. What more could you ask for? This is making me thirsty....

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