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A Visit to Haliimaile Distillery

Upcountry Maui is known for its fertile soil, crisp cool air, and panoramic views. Also worth visiting, the charming region of Haliimaile nestled amongst the slopes of Haleakala. Pineapple and sugar cane fields once occupied the majority of the land in this quaint town, now the area is home to some of the most sought after restaurants, shops, farmer’s markets and a premier distillery.

Established in 2010 the Haliimaile Distillery is home to a variety of Maui-made spirits.

The award-winning spirits distilled on-location include Pau Maui Vodka, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, Paniolo Whiskey and Maui Moon Vodka. Even if you are not a drinker it is interesting to hear the history, process and learn of the background of the region. Founded by a pair of brothers with a long lineage in the industry, Neil & Tim LeVecke of LeVecke Corp, the micro-distillery on Maui was born in 2010. They enlisted the help of a man who is no stranger to bottled spirits and looks a lot like Sammy Hagar. Originally from Colorado, Mark Nigbur is a master distiller who eventually relocated to Maui to continue his passion in paradise.

The friendly tour starts off with a brief history of the region, plantation life, and farming in the area. Then you proceed into a 1940’s Quonset hut warehouse (originally a pineapple facility) for an in-depth look at the process, bottling, and packaging. Pau Vodka is made using Maui Pineapples, which is perfect for fermentation because of the high sugar content.

Tours are held Monday – Friday, cost $10 per person, last about 30-45 minutes and end with a brief sampling in the tasting room (for guests 21 and over).
This is a working warehouse which can be noisy at times, but our guide was eager to answer any and all questions we had.
Pau Vodka has won numerous awards starting in 2012 including gold medals and best packaging.
One of the newer concepts, Fid Street Gin is the first gin distilled in the Hawaiian Islands since Prohibition ended in 1933.
After the short tour you are guided into the tasting room where you can sample 3 spirits. They also offer flavored vodkas and rums that I had never seen before.

Overall, this was a nice experience. It was interesting to learn about farming in Hawaii, what it takes to launch and manage a distillery on the island. Much of the inspiration comes from the tropics and Nigbur works hard to put his expertize to good use. After your tour and tasting take a moment to peruse the town and be sure to stop by famed Haliimaile General Store for a delightful meal.

Click here for more info on Haliimaile Distillery

Promotional Considerations:
Inter-Island Travel for Olena is brought to you by Island Air.
Accommodations provided by Maui Coast Hotel.
Ground Transportation provided by Advantage Rent A Car Kahului

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About Olena Heu

Olena is Executive Editor, Food & Lifestyle at MAUIWatch. The founder of Olena Heu Communications, a social media, digital marketing, consulting and freelance writing company, Olena holds a BA and MA in Communication and Speech from Hawaii Pacific University. An adjunct professor, lecturer and motivational speaker Olena is also an award winning journalist, writer, photographer and avid traveler.

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