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15 May 2024
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Local Scoop

One of the best parts of any vacation is fully immersing yourself in the culture and local traditions of the area. From signature dishes to handcrafted products, as more people book experience-based vacations, small businesses, and local makers have a greater opportunity to showcase their goods.

In a place as unique as Kauai, one of the best ways to incorporate novel experiences into your vacation is to dive into the craft spirits and beer scene. Not only will you get to sample delicious one-of-a-kind creations, but it’s also a great way to understand the ecology of local farms and the ingredients that make Kauai products unlike those found anywhere else. As you plan your next trip, keep this list of must-visit Kauai breweries and distilleries handy and see how many you can check out while you’re here.

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Can’t-Miss Kauai Breweries

Friends with beer flights

From IPAs to stouts and everything in between, Kauai’s breweries are serving up incredible drafts of locally made beer. Grab your Untapped journals and get ready to sip your way through the island at these top spots.

Napali Brewing Co.

Founded by Blake and Kati Conant, Napali Brewing Co. is one of the newest breweries on Kauai. Since opening in the summer of 2023, they’ve quickly solidified themselves in the craft beer community, serving up delicious flavors in a beautiful facility just a short drive from Suite Paradise’s Poipu beach vacation rentals.

With a food menu that features family (ohana) recipes like chicken skewers, island-fresh ceviche, and even vegan options, whether you’re a beer drinker or not, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. We recommend coming hungry and ordering a beer flight and one of their signature dishes for the optimal experience.

Our Top Picks:

  • Beer: Hamajang IPA – Juicy, fruity, and tropical – Everything a Hawaiian beer should be.
  • Food: Anna’s Spicy Ahi Poke – as traditional as it gets. Classic poke featuring local ingredients.

Kauai Island Brewing

Embrace both the craft scene and the novelty side of your Kauai vacation with a visit to the world’s westernmost brewery. At Kauai Island Brewing, you can sample tasty beers, play a game of pinball or darts, eat a fantastic meal, and enjoy hanging with the local crowd. They also feature a full bar, so if you’re not into beer, there’s still something for you.

As the oldest brewery and pub on Kauai, they’ve earned their stripes over their 20+ years in business. From humble beginnings, they’ve grown the craft beer offerings in Hawaii and even expanded to two locations. Brewmaster Dave Curry’s award-winning Cane Fire Red is a menu staple, but they also showcase seasonal rotations that focus on locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy a pint as you watch the sunset over Hanapepe Bay. You won’t regret it.

Our Top Picks:

  • Beer: Kauai Coffee Stout – An oatmeal stout with the perfect balance of sweet and bitter
  • Food: Kalua Pork Sandwich – Hawaiian-style roasted pork coated in melty cheese and savory sauce

Kauai Beer Company

Now in its 11th year, Kauai Beer Company has firmly anchored itself in its neighborhood community. A father-and-son endeavor, their rotating taps draw on everything from the soft water of Lihue to the unique malts and hops of the region to create their signature flavors.

Visit them from 2 pm to 5 pm for killer happy hour specials on food and drinks, or catch their Ramen pop-up on Sundays from 11 am to 6 pm. Arrive as a stranger and leave with lifelong friends when you visit this top Kauai brewery.

Our Top Picks:

  • Beer: Black Limousine  The beer that started it all! It's a German-style draft with notes of toffee and caramel.
  • Food: KBC Smash Burger – Don’t let the craft goods stop at the beer. This delicious burger features a house-made sauce and pickles. Try some beer-battered fries along with it.

Nani Moon Meadery

Made from fermented honey, water, and yeast, mead is the oldest known alcoholic beverage in the world, even predating wine by thousands of years. At Nani Moon Meadery, you can taste the difference Hawaiian honey makes when you visit their tasting room.

Featuring six island-inspired flavors, you can try them by the glass, by the bottle, or via a guided tasting experience, offered Tuesday – Saturday from noon to 5 pm. (reservations encouraged). Your visit also comes with a peek inside their production room!

Our Top Picks:

  • Mead: Deviant Beehavior – this carbonated variety is their latest release and is a must-try. With Kauai wildflower honey, Hawaiian chili pepper, and organic white pineapple, it’s the perfect blend of sweet and spicy.
  • Food: No food is served on the premises at the time of writing, but it’s the perfect stop-over after a day of exploring or before dinner.

Must-Visit Kauai Distilleries

pouring a glass of whiskey

It’s not all Mai Tais and frilly umbrella drinks in Kauai. Our island distilleries pay homage to the land by creating exceptional spirits highlighting sugarcane, taro root, and other uniquely Hawaiian plants and botanicals. Taste the spirit of Aloha when you visit these quality makers on your next vacation.

Koloa Rum

With a past deeply rooted in the production of sugarcane, Kauai has been a beacon in the world of exceptional rums for generations. Nowhere is that better seen than at Koloa Rum. Located on the Kilohana Plantation, a visit to this top Kauai distillery offers an immersive experience where you can not only try these award-winning rums but also learn about the history of the island through the lens of the farmers and workers who steward the land.  

The first run of Koloa Rum was bottled in 2009 and was made the same way they continue to do it today, in a copper pot still, using Hawaiian cane sugar, mountain rainwater, and all the Aloha they can muster. Plan a day at the plantation to get the full experience. You can ride the train through the grounds, dine at the on-site restaurant, visit the distillery, and even attend a luau! It’s definitely one of the top things to do in Kauai.

Our Favorite Spirit: Koloa Kauai Coffee Rum. At 68 proof, this twice-distilled smooth sipper offers a robust flavor profile that perfectly balances espresso with white cane sugar. Made in partnership with Kauai Coffee Company, it’s a double dose of local craftsmanship.

Hanalei Spirits Distillery

Drawing on Kauai’s farming history, the owners of Hanalei Spirits Distillery utilize the island’s rich earth and pure mountain water to create their craft offerings. Their family farm is dedicated to cultivating endangered hardwoods like Brazilian Rosewood and Honduran Mahogany, as well as plants used directly in the spirits they make, like Ti leaf, Lilikoi, Kalo, and Ginger, allowing every sip to resonate with Kauai-specific notes. 

From Okolehao (Hawaiian moonshine) to Taro Vodka and even an orange liqueur, the spirits at Hanalei Distillery are unlike any others. They offer two tasting options so you can plan a visit that’s perfect for you. First is the Distillery Tasting, a 45-minute sampling of each craft spirit along with a backstory on how they’re made. Or you can choose the Distillery Tour & Tasting, a 90-minute behind-the-scenes look at the farm-to-bottle process followed by a tasting of each spirit. With everything from gin to lilikoicello (a Hawaiian spin on the Italian classic limoncello), you’ll be fully immersed in the spirit of Kauai when you visit.

Our Favorite Spirit: Tutu’s Gin – Showcasing unique botanicals like grapefruit, spicy ginger, juniper, and lime peel, this bright and refreshing gin is the perfect end to a sunny day. Elevate your gin and tonics with this island favorite.

Book Your Spirited Vacation to Kauai Today

interior of suite paradise vacation rental

The only thing standing between you and these must-visit Kauai breweries and distilleries is a booked vacation. At Suite Paradise, we offer fantastic Poipu beach vacation rentals that put you within a short drive of all of these quality makers. Whether you’re looking for an oceanfront condo or a private home, we have the perfect spot for your next visit. Browse our available properties and book your stay directly with Suite Paradise for the best rates and service on the island.