In 1978, a little ahead of it becoming legal, Jim was attracted to home brewing. He was living in Belmont CA at the time. He was always into making foods that reached back into history, like sausage and pastrami, etc. Even as a twelve year old, he began distilling applejack. He built a still with some scrap material and it tasted awful. It ended up being used to light the barbeque. As it turns out, it was faulty gear and not the brew. Jim is just one of those real inquisitive people and fermentation became a fascination for him early.
About ten years after legally brewing, he gradually got more serious about beer. He was soon up to brewing ten-gallon batches, which he bottled in his home in Sebastopol CA. Brewers tend to find each other and Jim befriended a couple of guys. The combined efforts of this connection, along with access to more equipment moved him further along the production path.
Generally, home brewers fund their passion like a hobby, step by step and a reckless few decide to punish themselves by opening a microbrewery. Like everyone who graduates from the garage to the commercial brewery, there is always a progression, both personally and professionally.
Jim and his family moved to Kauai in 1998. He first visited the island in 1976 on a family vacation. He made sure to move all his brewing gear with him and set it up immediately in his garage. After a handful of years of low key brewing, he met another brewer who was the inspiration behind the first beer with a name, Black Limousine. His production levels increased, a direct reflection of his interest in always exploring new recipes. The beer became popular very quickly, with places like Island School ordering kegs for fundraisers and other events.
It was only a matter of time before Jim began thinking about going commercial. He secured the name Kauai Brewers, LLC. His initial idea was to find an industrial location to make beer. After visits to a number of buildings, he still came up empty. A building on Rice Street became available and it not only had room for production, there was a front of the house, perfect for a bar and restaurant.
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