Those of you who read this website for my occasional unhinged rants (Sorry but they actually are very much hinged) will probably hate these little drop-ins, which originated on Facebook but very much deserve a wider audience…
I’ve had this belief, for a long time, that it is just as possible to “know” a person from their social media posts, their work ethic, their stances on social and environmental and human rights issues, and their SENSE OF HUMOR and humility and decency, as it is to know someone we’ve met face-to-face. What we respond to, unless we’re hopelessly shallow, in those we choose to call friends, is their character, their intelligence, their humor, and their values. Maybe social media friendship is even more possible, since the first way involves a distilled version of their character, minus all the self-conscious glad-handing of most in-person interaction. In writing this, I’m testing that theory…but also saying something I really believe.
I don’t know Garrett W. Marrero from Adam. Never met the man, never been to Hawaii, and I’m relatively sure I never will meet him OR visit Hawaii. But I became interested in Garrett and his Maui Brewing Co. back in 2017, after his friend, Ron Jeffries of Jolly Pumpkin Brewing, sent him a graphic from The Great Lakes Brewing News that erroneously listed Maui Brewing as a subsidiary of Constellation Brands. (see graphic below, lower right corner) Garrett read it and got a bit, uh, moved and hastened to notify GLBN that Maui is NOT, in fact, a subsidiary of anybody, never was, and never will be. He seemed pretty firm about this.
I read the story and jumped into the fray, headlong, as it irritates the shit out of me to have all this wild disinformation bruited about especially since, here in the internet age, verifying something is usually a :30 task. I quickly launched a post called “Garrett Marrero and an Attempted Cranial Extraction from The Rectal Cavity“. Garrett saw it and messaged me and I friended him. Typical Thursday, really, around the ol’ Fool’s ranch. I smiled at having a new FB friend and turned to other stuff.
But over the next three years, I read post after post from Garrett and Maui Brewing that resonated strongly with me: his immense pride in crafting high-quality beers, the absolute success at doing it in every sip of any of his line-up, his obvious joy at living in his native state, his relentless stewardship of Hawaii and a deadly serious devotion to environmental preservation of what made the state a paradise to begin with, and his love of his family – which, in Garrett’s case, includes not just his biological fam but his large and growing MBC staff, too. Honestly, I became motivated to write this today, as opposed to some other day, by seeing a post by him in which he was flying with his Mother to visit relatives elsewhere in Hawaii. As someone who lost his mother in 2014, this hit me where I live. His caption, which I now can’t find on FB, (NOTE: It was actually on Instagram) said something to the effect that we don’t appreciate our Moms until we’re older…and I am here to tell you that’s true. We may NEVER appreciate them in a real way unless we’re fundamentally decent and thoughtful and bother to look at our lives in a clear-eyed way. Garrett and his Mom, in the photo, were relaxed and beaming, clearly delighted with their time together…as I would be to have one more hour with Peggy Sue Eaton Body.
For me to admire someone, they have to be larger than their claim to fame. Garrett Marrero is a LOT more than his beers. He’s a good man, as mutual friends have told me at least fifty times. He’s built a ridiculously successful, LARGE business that now sprawls all over the Islands and his beers are on store shelves and in glasses all over the Western world. And he has his head on straight and THINKS before he acts or speaks…and what a miracle that is, these days.
For a long time, I admired that Leo Durocher quote: “Nice Guys Finish Last”, and accepted it as Gospel. But, as I get older, I come to realize that Durocher’s witticism, which has been rebutted thousands of times, is not strictly true and never was. Mort Walker said it best and I can’t really add anything: “Its not true that nice guys finish last. Nice guy are winners before the game even starts.”
Garrett Marrero is a Nice Guy. I will never meet him but if I did, I’d like him. I know that and I hope he makes 200 billion dollars and becomes governor of Hawaii…because he’d do the right thing with both of those.