When starting Kuleana Rum Works, company founders consulted Noa Kekuewa Lincoln, an agricultural researcher at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa who studies indigenous crops. Known as “the kō (sugar) guy,” he’s mapped and documented the origins, routes and evolution of sugarcane as it voyaged with Polynesians across the Pacific from Papua New Guinea where it was first domesticated some 10,000 years ago.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a high demand for now-coveted disinfectant products. To help fill that demand on Hawaii Island, Kuleana Rum Works has shifted its focus from making rum to making hand sanitizer.
The Kohala distillery has been hard at work this month using their alcohol supply to create hand sanitizer for the many first responders and health care workers on the island who have been on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus.