Hali'imaile Distilling Company
History Of Hali'imaile Distilling Company
Located in Makawao, Maui, Hali'imaile Distilling is located on the slopes of Haleakala. It sits among the pineapple fields and sugar cane fields that have been harvested for over a century. If you go to the edge of the property, you get a gorgeous view of the edge of the entire island.
Hali'imaile Distilling Company is the culmination of a dream made reality from the LeVecke family. A family whose life in the spirits industry spans over half a century, and more specifically on the Hawaiian Islands for the last 30 years...building brands like Hana Bay Rum and Whaler's Rum. 15 years ago 2 brothers decided to start their own truly authentic micro-distillery on the island of Maui. Their goal was to create spirits that were truly one of a kind.
Their journey found them scouring the country for a like minded master distiller that could help bring this dream to reality. Mark Nigbur, a charismatic and gifted distiller in Colorado, was introduced to the brothers. Mark was making a name for himself in the industry for his unconventional distilling techniques and superior products. He had founded his own micro-distillery where he was distilling vodka from pharmaceutical grade glass stills that he engineered and designed himself. It wasn't long until the relationship was cemented and Mark brought his family to Maui to become Hali'imaile Distilling Company's Master Distiller. Today Mark works along side his eldest son Cory who currently manages the day to day Distilling operations.
So while this is a fairly new distillery and a brand new visitor center, this was a family dream in the making for the last 30 years. We are happy to welcome you to their vision.
Hali'imaile Distilling Company...Born Upcountry
Why Start With Pineapple?
Hali'imaile Distilling's flagship brand, Pau Maui Vodka is distilled using the Maui Gold Pineapple. Why start with Pineapple?
First and foremost, Hali'imaile Distilling is settled in the middle of pineapple fields that have been harvested for over a century with access to the best pineapple in the world. So it’s an obvious choice! The extra sweet Maui pineapple gives us a great start for fermentation due to its high sugar content.
Pineapples grown in Maui have the benefit of warm sunny days, cool nights, fresh water and volcanic soil, allowing for a very clean fruit to start. Hawaiian pineapple takes 18 months to grow, but are only ripe in the field for 2-3 days. It is essential that the pineapples are picked at the perfect time because pineapples will not continue to ripen once they are picked. We only use pineapples that are picked at the optimal stage of ripeness to give Pau Maui Vodka the clean and refreshing finish for which it has become known.
Pineapple – The Welcome Symbol
First brought to Hawai'i by the Spanish, Hawaiians named the pineapple "Hala Kahiki", referencing its similarity in appearance to the Hala tree (Pandanus or Screwpine), and "kahiki" meaning from a foreign place. This is similar to the way the English named Pineapple, referencing its similarity to the pinecorn. By the early 1800's the Hala Kahiki, or Pineapple, had found a home in Hawai'i and by the 1900's there were people trying to grow pineapple commercially across the islands.
Christopher Columbus brought pineapples back to Europe as one of the exotic prizes of the New World. In later centuries, sailors brought the pineapple home to New England, where a fresh pineapple displayed on the porch meant that the sailor was home from foreign ports and ready to welcome visitors.
- Don Francisco de Paula y Marin, Spanish advisor to King Kamehameha, introduced the fruit to Hawaiians in 1813
- Hala Kahiki, is the Hawaiian word named for its similarity in appearance to the Hala or Pandanus tree.
- Anana is the original name of the pineapple, which means “excellent fruit” in the native Caribbean language
- The pineapple was given its English name for its resemblance to a pine cone
- John Kidwell, an English Captain, started the first large-scale commercial plantation of pineapples in Hawaii in 1885
- Pineapple cultivation began on the island of Maui in 1909
- Hawaiian pineapple plantations produce almost a third of the world’s crop and supply about 60 percent of canned pineapple products
- Pineapples are grown year-round in Hawaii
- Hawaii is the only U.S. State currently growing pineapple