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When I visited Hawaii in March 2021, I enjoyed some locally distilled spirits in cocktails at several bars in Oahu. With a fantastic climate for growing things like sugar cane, it makes sense that you would find distilleries close by. I wish I had rented a car to visit some of the Hawaiian distilleries while I was there. There are a good number of distilleries located across four of the seven main islands of the state. Due to import laws, it has been challenging to find Hawaiian spirits outside of the islands. However, the laws have recently changed so you should be able to find many of these products from Hawaiian distilleries soon!

bottled products of hawaiian distilleries

Hawaiian Distilleries on Hawai’i

1. Kuleana Rum Works

Address: 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Waikoloa Village, HI
Hours:
Tuesday-Sunday, 3-9pm | Closed Monday and Tuesday
Spirits:
Hawaiian Rum Agricole; Huihui (blend of Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian rums); Nanea (a blend of non-Hawaiian aged rums)
Tours:
No (starting back up soon though)
Tasting Room:
The Rum Shack serves food, cocktails, and sells bottles of Kuleana Rum

At the second bar I visited in Honolulu, I met a bartender who also works for Kuleana Rum Works. Of course I had to try one of the rums in a daiquiri. It was delicious. Kuleana opened in 2013 and was the first distillery on Hawai’i. They use 40 varieties of Hawaiian heirloom sugar cane for the local rum. They source rums from around the world for blending the Huihui and Nanea rums. The rums are ideal for tiki drinks.

2. 12th Hawaii Distiller

Photo from 12th Hawaii Distillery

Address: 74-5467 Kaiwi Street, Unit 1-5, Kailua-Kona, HI
Hours:
7 days a week, 9am-5pm
Spirits:
Hawaiian Honeyshine; Distiller’s Reserve; Hawaiian Vodka; Hawaiian Kona Coffee Spirits
Tours:
No
Tasting Room:
Yes

Bees play a central role in 12th Hawaii Distiller spirits. This is because all of their products are made using honey in their distillations. Opening on the island of Hawai’i in 2017, this distillery really works to bring unique Hawaiian flavors to their offerings. In addition to honey, they also use locally-grown Kona coffee, barrels made from Hawaiian Kiawe wood, and locally-sourced purple potatoes to produce their products.

Hawaiian Distilleries on Kaua’i

3. Hanalei Spirits Distillery

Photo from Hanalei Spirits Distillery

Address: 4241 Kahili Makai Street, Kilauea, HI
Hours:
Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm | Closed Saturday and Sunday
Spirits:
Vodka; Rum; Taro Vodka; Dark Rum; Okolehao; Sugarloaf Pineapple Rum; Lilikoicello; Tutu’s Gin
Tours:
No
Tasting Room:
No

This family-owned and operated distillery was founded in 2016 and is known for its small batch spirits. They use as many locally grown ingredients as they can, including their own ginger, sugarcane, lilikoi, kalo, and ti leaf. The farm grows endangered hardwood timber and they have been adding crops to keep the land in balance. They try to source the rest of the ingredients they need from neighboring farms. If you visit Kaua’i, buy a few bottles of Hanalei Spirits because you can’t buy them off island. They are currently offering “Bar in a Bag” for local delivery.

4. Kōloa Rum Company

product line of koloa rum bottles
Photo from Kōloa Rum Company

Address: 3-2087 Kaumualii Highway, Lihue, HI
Hours:
Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-3pm | Closed Sunday and Monday
Spirits:
Kauaʻi White, Gold, Dark, Spice, Coconut, Coffee, and Cacao rums; Reserve 12 Barrel Select Aged Hawaiian Rum
Tours:
No
Tasting Room:
Yes

The Kōloa Rum Company products are available in Hawaii and on the mainland of the United States. It seemed like everywhere I went, I saw gift packs of mini bottles of their rum to take home. Founded in 2009, the distillery uses pure cane sugar and water from Mount Waiʻaleʻale. They were the first licensed distillery on Kaua’i. The company is named for the Hawaiian town where sugar production was first established in 1835.

Hawaiian Distilleries on Maui

5. Hali’imaile Distilling

bars in oahu the hideout
The Lucky Kid cocktail featuring Pau Maui Vodka at The Hideout.

Address: 883 Hali’imaile Rd, Makawao, HI
Hours:
Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm (currently by reservation only) | Closed Saturday and Sunday
Spirits:
Pau Maui Vodka; Fid Street Hawaiian Gin; Paniolo Blended Whiskey; Mihina Premium Rum
Tours:
Yes
Tasting Room:
Yes

Hali’imaile Distilling’s building is located in 100-year old pineapple fields. It’s no surprise that one of their best-known spirits, Pau Maui Vodka, is distilled from Maui Gold pineapple. Hawaiian pineapple takes 18 months to grow but only 2-3 days to ripen. Pineapple gets distilled into a neutral spirit for use in their blended whiskey. Two brothers opened this craft micro-distillery after bringing two large rum brands to life, Hana Bay Rum and Whaler’s Rum.

6. Hawaii Sea Spirits Organic Farm and Distillery

Address: 4051 Omaopio Road, Kula, HI 
Hours:
7 days a week, 9:30am-5pm
Spirits:
Ocean Organic Vodka; Kula Organic, Dark, and Toasted Coconut Rums
Tours:
Yes, 9:30am-4pm
Tasting Room:
Yes, they have a sampling area

Sugar cane is grown on the 80 acre Hawaii Sea Spirits Organic Farm. Hawaii Sea Spirits distills the only vodka in the world made with sugar cane and deep seawater. The water is sourced from 500 fathoms (3,000 feet below sea level) off the Island of Hawaii. The bottle mimics the glass fishing net floats from the 14th century and the Earth’s axis, with the placement of the neck. Hawaii Sea Spirits produces three kinds of rum made with deep sea water.

7. Kolani Distillers

These two 70-year old copper stills came from Boston where they were used for rum, and were later used to distill gin in California. Photo from Kolani Distillers.

Address: 320 Baldwin Avenue, Paia, HI
Hours:
Not open to the public
Spirits:
Old Lahaina Silver, Gold, and Dark Rums
Tours:
No
Tasting Room:
No

Kolani comes from the Hawaiian words Kō (sugar) and Lani (heavenly). They are the oldest distillery still operating in Maui. The distillery was opened in 2005 by a father and son who still operate the business today. They pride themselves on being an independent business and have won a variety of awards. The distillery was constructed within the shell of an 1875 vintage sugar mill but due to space constraints and safety concerns, tours are not permitted by the landlord. The rum produced by Kolani Distillers is made specifically for rum-based cocktails.

8. Kupu Spirits

Address: 605 Lipoa Parkway, Kihei, HI
Hours:
7 days a week, 11:30am-9:30pm
Spirits:
Gin; White Whiskey
Tours:
No (only for the brewery)
Tasting Room:
Yes

Maui Brewing Company is the largest craft brewery in Hawai’i. They also operate four restaurants, distill spirits, and make canned cocktails and hard seltzer. State regulations used to block alcohol producers from making more than a single type of alcoholic beverage. But this has changed and Maui Brewing Company started producing spirits in 2019. The White Whiskey is made from malted barley and local Maui corn. Kupu Gin is distilled with botanicals including locally hand-picked botanicals and dried hibiscus flowers.

Hawaiian Distilleries on O’ahu

diamond head on oahu where five hawaiian distilleries are located

9. Hawaiian Shochu Company

While I don’t have a lot of information on this distillery, it is definitely worth mentioning. If you find yourself in Haleiwa and you love shōchū, check out Hawaiian Shochu Company’s Facebook page. New batches are listed there when they are available for purchase. They list an email address that you can reach out to for information. You can also check out their website (in Japanese).

10. Island Distillers

hawaiian distilleries oahu island distillers
Photo from Island Distillers

Address: 577 Pakala Street, Honolulu, HI
Hours:
Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-4pm | Closed Monday and Tuesday
Spirits:
HAPA Premium, Coconut, Chili, and Hibiscus Vodkas; Hawaiian Okolehao; HAPA Premium Rum (coming soon)
Tours:
No
Tasting Room:
Yes

Sitting at the base of the Koko Head Crater, which boasts one of the best hiking trails on Ohau, you will find a distillery. Island Distillers blends its vodkas (and soon rum) with other spirits to create the perfect flavors. (HAPA means “part Hawaiian”.) They also use sugarcane to make their vodkas and Hawaii’s only indigenous spirit, okolehao. Okolehao is distilled ti root beer with sugarcane added in order to smooth out the flavor. It’s a truly unique spirit that is fit for a king.

11. Kō Hana Distillers

feel the sunshine cocktail from bars in oahu
Feel the Sunshine cocktail featuring Kō Hana Hawaiian Agricole Rum and Pau Maui Vodka at Hau Tree.

Address:  92-1770 Kunia Road #227, Kunia, HI
Hours:
7 days a week, 11am-5pm
Spirits:
White, Barrel-Aged, Cask Strength, and Cacao+Honey Rums
Tours:
Yes
Tasting Room:
Yes

Thousands of years ago, Polynesians set sail for Hawaii using the stars as their guide. Many of the canoes they paddled contained sugarcane shoots. Kō Hana honors this history by focusing on heirloom sugarcane varietals for their rums. They press hand-harvested, single varietals of native Hawaiian sugarcane to produce their four standard rums. They occasionally produce limited edition rums as well. Their labels and bottles are beautiful.

12. Ko’olau Distillery

hawaiian distilleries ko'olau bottled whiskey
Photo from Ko’olau Distillery

Address: 905 Kapaa Quarry Place, Building 50 Kailua, Unit 14, Kailua, HI
Hours:
Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm | Closed Monday and Tuesday
Spirits:
Old Pali Road Whiskey
Tours:
Yes
Tasting Room:
Yes

When I was in Oahu, I was so intrigued by this distillery that I almost rented a ridiculously expensive rental car for a visit. Instead of driving up, I ordered a pour of Ko’olau Distillery’s rum at a local bar. Hawaiian water, for the most part, is filtered through volcanic rock and soil. This gives it an amazing purity and minerality. The Old Pali Road Whiskey benefits from both the water and locally sourced corn. Not only is the whiskey delicious, but you can also find it featured in a special edition chocolate bar.

13. Royal Hawaii Spirits

Address: 1210 Dillingham Boulevard, Suite 25A, Honolulu, HI
Hours:
7 days a week, 1-4pm
Spirits:
Hula Girl Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Flavored Vodka, Kona Mule Coffee Liqueur, Pineapple Spirit, Hawaii Mule Ginger Honey Cordial, Maui Pink Gin, Sandwich Islands Formula No.808 Whisky, Sandwich Islands Rum, and Sakura Shochu Hawaiian Style
Tours:
No
Tasting Room:
Yes, by appointment

Royal Hawaii Spirits produce a wide variety of spirits ranging from those listed above to ahi tuna fish vodka. They experiment with new flavors and formulas regularly, which you can try in the tasting room. Founded in 2016, this distillery has received a variety of awards and offers private label services.

Now that you know a little bit about the spirits created in these fine Hawaiian distilleries, enjoy them in a cocktail or two! You’ll find many of the spirits featured in drinks at these bars and restaurants on Oahu.

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