A famous Chinese philosopher named Laozi said, "...a journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step". Now, as true as this may be, I wouldn't walk to find this magnificent small local business in Kunia! But, I would certainly encourage you to find a way to get there!
There's a movie that came out in 1989 called "Field of Dreams", it's an American fantasy-drama that spoke of a man who heard whispers of "If you build it they will come" and so he built a baseball field in his backyard and hosted games. The field was out in the country and many people didn't believe success would come to him. In the end, people were lining up to get to that field to feel the experience!
Now, this distillery isn't a baseball field by any means (it's larger), but it feels very much like that movie! Sugar cane (otherwise known as Ko) in Hawaii dates back thousands of years as Polynesian explorers brought a variety of cane to the island. They had many uses for the cane stalk along with the leaves to include some medicinal recipes.
Tell The Story To Honor The Past
These varietals of cane are grown at a distillery in Kunia and Manulele Distillery is staying true to the history of this agricultural wonder. The people at this incredible distillery take you on a journey through time and history to help you to understand who they are and why you should share an experience with them. So get ready to open up your senses and truly gain an memorable experience worth sharing with friends.
The Manulele Distillery is built right off of Kunia road in an old Del Monte General Store (yes, the pineapple company once occupied this facility) and along with making incredible RUM, the folks at KoHana Hawaiian Agricole Rum tell a story of HOW and WHY they are distilling this historic piece of agriculure. They are open daily from 10:00am - 5:00pm and located at 92-1770 Kunia Road, Kunia Camp, Hawaii 96759.
(Just off to the side - The Barrel Room)
The Manulele Distillery is offering tasting tours of their KoHana Rum for people interested in visiting and learning about the history of this MADE IN HAWAII rum! This is a great way to not only support local but to learn more about where the product comes from.
A Great Guide Makes A Great Difference
We were extremely fortunate to have Zachary Villanueva as our tour guide and educator.
To be honest, I thought it was just going to be a "this is the cane, this is the distillery and let's get to the tasting". BUT NO! Zachary took us on an experience and showed us a few of the 34 varieties of sugar cane that is grown on the property. He spoke of the origins, why the people of the past grew the cane and how they put it to good use.
(Ps. Be sure to ask him about the Pilimai Cane...LOL)
We continued from the mini sugar plantation outside of the "tastery" to see where ALL the distilling takes place.
(Rum sitting and aging in barrels waiting for the day to be shared)
(The barrels are also for sale (without the rum in it) if you decide you need one to experiment)
Now Let's Try Some Rum
Inside of the "TASTERY" (as I like to call it), you'll find all their RUMS. Zachary went through each of them for all of us on the tour and gladly answered any questions that popped up as each sip touched our lips.
He even paired the variety of rums with chocolates made by Manoa Chocolate and scrumptious cake (cover photo) made by Chef Jackie Lau of HFM Foodservice. As you walk through the tastery, you'll find a variety of products from other small local businesses that have collaborated with KoHana Hawaiian Agricole Rum. (I love seeing small businesses support other small businesses).
(Manulele Coffee crafted by ChadLou's Coffee)
Just Come In For A Tour
The distillery is open 7 days a week and their tours are just filling up! I guess it's true, "...if you distill it, people WILL come!" We were very fortunate to make it for the last appointment on Saturday and boy was it worth it. So there's a tour, just a tasting, and a tasting tour that you can choose from. CLICK HERE for more information. (By the way, you can book the tour yourself all online!)
I was very impressed with the overall experience. The tour was well organized and very interesting. I was able to truly understand what the distillery was showcasing and how important it is to understand WHERE your product comes from nowadays.
Zachary Villanueva is very knowledgeable about his craft and shows a great deal of respect for the process from start to finish. In all honesty, I'm not a drinker, more like a taster, but this experience was just a delight for me as well. (As you could see, i needed to have one bottle in the house)
If you have a moment to visit KoHana Hawaiian Agricole Rum, I'd highly recommend it and bring a friend to enjoy the experience with!
Mahalo to everyone at Manulele Distillery and KoHana Hawaiian Agricole Rum for their hospitality, professionalism, and knowledgeable staff!
KoHana Hawaiian Agricole Rum
92-1770 Kunia Rd.
Kunia Camp, Hi 96759
Tel: (808) 517-4067
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