On a recent cloudless Thursday, Spoon Singh, a co-founder of the Hawaii-based beermaker Kona Brewing Company, watched the sun set from his sailboat, off the coast of Marina del Rey, California. Five friends were aboard, throwing back beers and listening to some pretty out-there funk streaming from the speakers of The Indulgence, Singh's boat.
"My religion is very simple these days," says Singh, who wears a strand of clear beads around his wrist. "Basically, watch the sun set and enjoy life and appreciate the day being on the water."
In 1994, Singh and his dad founded Kona, which they sold in 2010. (In 2015, its sales were $100 million.) While Singh retains a small percentage of the company Kona merged into--Craft Brew Alliance, which also makes Redhook and Widmer--these days he's focused on the six restaurants and bars he's founded, in Southern California and Austin, whose revenue hit $8 million last year.
Singh learned to sail 20 years ago, when he resided in Hawaii and taught windsurfing for a living. "There's something about wind power--it's free power to cruise all around the world," he says. "I have my pilot's license as well. I was like, 'Should I buy a plane or a boat?' Boat, obviously."
Wind power has since propelled him around Ibiza and coastal British Columbia, where he has a home and a smaller, wooden sailboat. Sailing there is a bit less idyllic than his jaunts off Southern California. "It's called the Inside Passage to Alaska," Singh says. "The wind goes the opposite direction of the current, the ocean comes in around the top, around the bottom, and it all ebbs and flows. Some spots have taken down 60-foot ships."
A few years ago, Singh went to San Francisco to learn how to race sailboats, but he found it wasn't for him: "I don't feel I need to be competitive in that way." Instead, he'll be sticking to his sunset salutations. "I like to look back on shore and think of all of Los Angeles in traffic, and me out on the bay, no one else out there, just cruising around," Singh says. "It's a religious experience."