Kauai Restaurant of the Week with Anne Lee: Aloha Ginger BeerInside Feature
March 27, 2022
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANNE LEE
Gather Federal Credit Union is supporting its Kauai restaurant community by offering a 3% cash back for Gather FCU Signature Visa® card holders or double points for Platinum Visa® cardholders either dining in or ordering takeout through April.
One of their favorite places to visit is Aloha Ginger Beer, a company that makes a fresh locally produced ginger soda beverage. Casey Paul started this family-operated business as a way to support local farmers and satisfy his thirst for ginger beverages.You can get delicious samples of their signature flavors, grab some local snacks, light bites and their popular Ginger Beer Floats using Lappert’s Hawaii ice cream.
We stopped in to learn more about this concept and taste a few of the beverages. I have to say that there is nothing quite like a homemade ginger beer — the freshness of the ginger comes alive with every sip!
Q: Please tell me the history and concept of Aloha Ginger Beer.
A: Aloha Ginger Beer started three years ago selling solely at farmers markets here on Kauai. The business originated from a love of fresh ginger beer and a want to work with the local farming community to develop an added value product. Our farmers grow the most amazing ginger and fruits that we have developed into various flavors of ginger beer.
We currently have seven different flavors of ginger beer that range from our classic ginger beer with lemon and ginger to our hibiscus-flavored ginger beer. All of our ginger beer is nonalcoholic but is often used as a base for cocktails such as the Moscow Mule or Dark ‘N’ Stormy. We rotate flavors depending on what we can buy seasonally from the farmers and our ginger beer is all made in small batches. Our ginger beer is made with cold-pressed ginger, lemon juice, organic cane sugar and local honey.
Q: How did you get into this industry and why?
A: I got into this industry because, in my previous career, I was a small farmer on the mainland. As a farmer, I grew produce for a local ginger beer company and this was when I was introduced to fresh ginger beer. I moved to Kauai six years ago because of my wife’s job at the hospital and immediately saw the beautiful ginger roots that the local farmers were growing. I wanted to create an added value product that would support local agriculture and that was part of the local cuisine.
Q: There are a few flavors that we tried, tell me how they are made and what makes each unique.
A: We sampled the turmeric-flavored ginger beer, which is made with local ginger, turmeric and black pepper. This one has more of a medicinal flavor and tends to be less sweet and more spicy. Next, we sampled the hibiscus flavor that is made with hibiscus flowers. This one is a beautiful red color. The other flavor was our holiday spice ginger beer. This one is made with cinnamon, cloves and vanilla. It literally tastes like the holidays.
Q: Other than ginger beer, what else are you known for?
A: We are also known for making crystalized ginger candy, simple syrups and for carrying a variety of products from small businesses in our tap room. Our tap room in Lihue is located near the airport and carries great local gifts.
Q: How can customers purchase Aloha Ginger Beer?
A: Customers can find us at our shop in Lihue, our mobile horse trailer bar in Koloa and at two farmers markets during the week.We sell our ginger beer in 16-ounce cups to go, which usually includes dehydrated fruit and herbs. We make our cups like a nonalcoholic cocktail that is super refreshing and costs $6. We also sell it in glassware such as our 1-liter bottles ($15 and $10 refill) and our half-gallon bottles ($25 and $20 to refill) to go. Just clean out your bottles, bring them back and we will get you a discount on the refill.
Q: Who are your local partners?
A: We also are on tap at a variety of restaurants around the island. You can find us at Verde Restaurant, Japanese Grandma’s Café, Rob’s Good Times Grill, Street Burger, Dark Horse Coffee Roasters and Aunty Lilikoi Passion Fruit Products.
Q: Do you also serve food as well?
A: We have various grab and go options for snacks and food available in our Lihue store. We also make ginger beer floats using Lappert’s Hawaii vanilla ice cream. These are a must if you are on the island of Kauai!
Q: The island of Kauai is very unique, what makes Lihue unique to you and why?
A: Lihue is unique to us because it is the central part of the island. It has amazing history and unique old buildings. It also has been getting a lot of revitalization with local artists and creative individuals who are looking to bring business back to the downtown. There is an amazing mural that was just painted across the street at the county building.
Q: Anything else you want to share?
A: You can find us at Kauai local farmers markets every weekend, including Kauai Community Market on the second Saturdays at Warehouse 3570 in Lawai; Kauai Culinary Market every Wednesday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at The Shops at Kukuiula; and at Puhi Market in Lihue every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to noon. (Locations and times may vary, so double check on their website.)
Mahalo to the community for supporting local Kauai farmers and small businesses.