The Koloa Rum Company held a blessing and ground-breaking ceremony yesterday afternoon at the future location of its tasting room and gallery at the Kilohana Plantation in Lihu‘e.
“We’ve worked really hard to come up with this concept of Koloa Rum and build a brand, piece by piece,” said owner Greg Schredder, a long-time Kaua‘i resident. “We’re going to be hiring a lot of people at some point and it feels pretty good.”
The blessing was presided over by Kumu Sabra Kauka, who had previously handled blessings for other projects at the Kilohana Plantation.
Kaua‘i County Councilman Ron Kouchi offered his public support for the project.
“We have people like Greg, John (Stallcup) and the rest of their partners who are willing to invest and commit to this community,” he said. “They’re putting their own money on the line and they’re risking it to try to build up Kaua‘i. … How could I turn away from people who are trying to help Kaua‘i?”
The base ingredient of Koloa Rum will be molasses supplied by the Gay & Robinson sugar plantation in Kaumakani, a press release states.
Schredder described Koloa Rum as “a Kaua‘i product with Kaua‘i components.”
The company recently purchased Hawaiian Fruit Specialties’ Kukui Brand, a long-time local producer of jams and jellies.
“It wasn’t in our original plan, but we picked it up,” Schredder said. “It was quite run down and we’ve turned it around and kept the people working.”
The Koloa Rum Company, founded in 2001, plans to create a mai tai mix and distill and bottle rum out of Hawaiian Fruit Specialties’ existing Kalaheo factory.
Construction on the tasting room and gallery will likely begin in about a month.
For more information, call Koloa Rum at 808-742-1616 or visit www.koloarum.com