Brew pub owners on Oahu say they were improperly shut down

Brew pub owners on Oahu say they were improperly shut down

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two brew pub owners are calling on the Honolulu Liquor Commission to review enforcement action against them over the weekend.

Police officers shut down Beer Lab Hawaii’s satellite location at Pearlridge Center, saying they were violating the city’s new COVID-19 order that put restrictions on alcohol sales.

But owner Nick Wong said they were given the green light by the Honolulu Liquor Commission to do take-out only and were operating within the rules.

Beer Lab Hawaii
Beer Lab Hawaii (Source: Beer Lab Hawaii)

“To have two enforcement agencies come down on us and one of them saying one thing and another saying another thing, it’s unbelievably frustrating,” Wong said.

Joe Lorenzen, of Waikiki Brewing Company in Kakaako, also said his business shouldn’t have been shut down Saturday because it meets the criteria of food versus alcohol sales.

“At least 30% food sales, an actual, bonafide kitchen operation, where you’re serving guests for sit down for meal service regularly,” he said.

Waikiki Brewing Company
Waikiki Brewing Company (Source: Waikiki Brewing Company)

Lorenzen said their food sales for the year is more than 48%.

“The single largest thing that we sell. We sell even more of that than we serve beer. We’re absolutely a restaurant,” he said.

Late Monday night, he said he did a walk through with the Liquor Commission, and they gave the business the green light to reopen Tuesday saving the jobs of at least 15 employees.

Lorenzen said the confusion in enforcement shows the rules need to be clear and specific before a business is forced to shut down in the first place.

Beer Lab Hawaii also reported Tuesday that they were being allowed to reopen the Pearlridge Center’s satellite location for to-go sales only after clarification from HPD and the Liquor Commission.

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