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Hawaii: Vodka distillery to open on Maui

February 08, 2013|By Jay Jones
  • Sugar cane, organically grown in the rich soil of the foothills of the Haleakala volcano, will be distilled into spirits at Ocean Vodka's new plant, set to open for tours this April.
Sugar cane, organically grown in the rich soil of the foothills of the Haleakala… (Ocean Vodka )

When the talk turns to vodka, Moscow, not Maui, probably comes to mind. But beginning this spring, Hawaii’s very own vodka distillery will begin offering tours and tastings.

Ocean Vodka, about half an hour south of the Kahului airport, is building a new solar-powered plant that will produce what the company says is “the only vodka in the world distilled from organic sugar cane,” which grows on 80 acres of the slopes of Haleakala volcano.

The water, which makes up more than half of the bottled product, comes from mineral-rich deposits 3,000 feet beneath the Big Island. (The water is desalinated and purified before being shipped to Maui.)

“We’ve always found inspiration from our home island of Maui,” said Shay Smith, founder, president and chief executive of Ocean Vodka. “We hope guests come to learn about the art of craft distilling, and the way we work with 100% organic sugar cane and the richest mineral water source in the world, our deep ocean.”

After taking a tour, visitors will be invited to relax in the Martini Garden. The drinks will feature fresh, locally grown ingredients such as lavender, passion fruit and pineapple.

Hours and prices will be announced closer to the distillery’s opening, which is scheduled for mid-April.

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