With its distribution reach growing each day, Kuleana Rum Works is proving that world-class rum can come from a Big Island distillery.
For centuries, the colorful history of rum has been intrinsically linked to sea voyaging, sailors, tropical locales and the spirit of adventure. Such is the case with Kuleana Rum Works, conceived by Big Island native Steve Jefferson during a sailing trip across the Caribbean in 2007.
Having spent the better part of that year cruising with his wife, Jackie, and their two small children on their sailboat, Jefferson dropped anchor off the island of Martinique, where he immediately noticed the many geographic, volcanic and climatic similarities to the Big Island.
I was born and raised in Hawaiʻi and have a deep connection to our home. The story of Kuleana Rum began 12 years ago when my wife, Jackie, and I were sailing around the Caribbean with our then 1- and 3-year-old children. We made it to the French islands and were pretty stoked to be back in civilization. Martinique, in many ways, is a LOT like Hawaii. It’s a volcanic island on the same latitude as the Big Island, managed by a first-world country, but really an island nation.