When Lanikai Brewing Company co-founder, CEO, and brewmaster Steve Haumschild steps out his front door in the morning, he doesn’t just get in his car and drive to work. Instead, he seeks out alternative transportation, the kind that enticed him to move to Hawaii in the first place.
Sometimes he commutes by stand-up paddleboard – he can launch from the beach in front of his house and paddle his way up a small canal that runs behind his brewery. Sometimes he hikes – there’s a trailhead down the street, where a series of unmarked trails takes him up and over the hills into Kailua, a couple blocks from the brewery. Other times he bikes to work, along the coastal road with a view of Kailua Beach.
Today I’m joining Steve on his hiking route. I meet him in front of his Lanikai home first thing in the morning. He says that, normally, he would invite me in for a coffee, but his two children – his 15-month-old twins – are still sleeping. We walk down the street toward the trailhead, dodging big puddles in the road from the morning rain, the sky now blue and clear. He tells me he loves mixing an activity in with his daily commute. It makes him take life slower and gives him time to think – with two young twins, a wife, a brewery and a host of other entrepreneurial side interests, he doesn’t get a lot of alone time otherwise. On the trail or upon the water is where his ideas flow, where he can step back and take a look at his life with perspective.
From Boards to Beers
It was way back in 2003 that he first arrived on Oahu, and he immediately began living this youthful, island lifestyle. He started a small surfboard repair company and linked up with a friend who was a homebrewer. Repairing a board and brewing a batch of beer takes roughly the same amount of time, Steve says, so they would hang out and trade skills.
“We were bad surfers back then, so we would beat up the boards, then go repair them and brew beer,” he says. “Basically, at that time, I would surf, repair boards, make beer, surf, drink beer, surf, and then… I guess repair boards and make beer again.”