Beer, cheers for a cause: Hilo Brewfest offers help for Puna Lava Relief

  • Courtesy photo The sixth annual Hilo Brewfest is slated for 2-5 p.m. Saturday, June 23, at the Wainaku Executive Center.
  • Hawaii-Tribune file photo Hilo Brewfest volunteer Jon Countess serves up brew from Honolulu Beerworks to Dan Weaver of Cleveland during the 2017 Hilo Brewfest.

The Rotary Fund for Puna Lava Relief has been named as the beneficiary of proceeds from the Rotary Club of Hilo’s sixth annual Hilo Brewfest scheduled for June 23 at the beautiful Wainaku Executive Center.

The net purpose of the annual festival of beer sampling, food tasting and musical entertainment has always been fundraising for the Rotary Club of Hilo to help out in Big Island communities. This year is no different. The sheltering of the many evacuated people has created a need for “transitional help” — something between shelters and the proposed county construction of temporary housing.


The Rotary Club of Hilo has teamed up with the Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset to move forward with this transitional help. Ron Cutler, president of the club in Pahoa, is a resident of Nanawale and is now “out of danger” in an adjoining neighborhood. Being there on the ground, Cutler will be moving forward with the planning and execution of this project.

“We need to quickly provide some kind of transition for the folks who are camped out on cots in the shelters,” Cutler said. “Our plans include some kind of gathering center for our residents where they can come together and begin to live independently and provide for themselves.

“Having an influx of financial aid from the Brewfest proceeds will move our plans forward much more quickly.”

Attendees of this year’s Brewfest will enjoy choosing from and sampling more than 70 different beers from throughout the state and mainland. Complementing these tasty brews are delicious food offerings from nearly 20 Big Island restaurants and food vendors.

“Our beer distributors are gearing up with a diverse offering of beers and ales,” said Bob Hanley, originator of the festival. “Each ticket gets you eight options to try new beers with additional script available for purchase.

“Try something new or enjoy an old favorite. Where else would you find so many choices of brews?”

Attendees also can rock out to Hoku winner Lightning Larry Dupio, in addition to Holi Kau with Randy Ruff, former background vocalist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Randy Skaggs and his band Soul on a Roll.

General admission tickets are $60 and can be purchased electronically at

The event is from 2-5 p.m. at the Wainaku center, 26-238 Hawaii Belt Road. There is no parking at the Wainaku Center. Attendees should plan to park at the old County Building, 25 Aupuni St., and catch shuttle buses to and from the center throughout the afternoon.


If you plan to be dropped off or to take a taxi or Uber, you must drive up to the upper parking lot on Wainaku Street by turning onto Kaiwiki Road and following the signs.

For VIP tickets, which includes early entry, extra beer and possibly preferred parking, contact Misti Tyrin at