Mar. 22: Ko Hana Rum Distillery
On March 26th, HSBP members toured the Ko Hana rum distillery, tasting room and farm in Kunia. We were lucky to have Robert Dawson, co-founder of Ko Hana, as our tour guide. Robert recounted the years of work he did researching cane varieties, obtaining land, and growing the first crop of sugar cane to make his unique brand of “agricole” rum - a distilled liquor made from the original pressings of the sugar cane, in place of the molasses by-product from which most of the world’s rum is made. He talked about crop failures, permitting problems, changing Hawaii’s liquor laws, and the emotional efforts of raising funds and parting with equity along his journey. He also boasted about their successes in obtaining and branding beautiful glass packaging for their product, adding farm produce and a food truck to the facility, and the growing awareness of - and distribution to - locals and visitors of their five rum varieties, including one made with local cacao and a brand of local honey they developed. A really nice way to end a week, the tour was a hit with everyone.