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.
It’s notoriously windy in North Kohala. Trade winds reliably blast Hawai‘i Island’s northern coast and the smoothed hump of its oldest volcano.
It’s morning as I step out of an air-conditioned tour vehicle onto the dusty landscape. Tucked behind a row of windmills, on a 40-acre plot, leafy stems tower above me, shaking in the wind. Sugar. If you visited this spot 150 years ago, the scene would be similar (minus the windmills, of course): The relentless Hawaiian sun, a sparkling blue ocean backdrop and the trade winds coaxing cane leaves to emit rain sounds when there’s barely a cloud in the sky.