How We Make Rum

Unlike most spirits, there is a lot of confusion about rum. We at Kuleana Rum Works love rum so much, we want to untangle some of that confusion. Here are a couple facts that might help:

  1. All rum is made from sugar cane products
  2. There are three major inputs for making rum: fresh cane juice, molasses or dried sugar.
  3. At least 95 percent of the world's rum is made from molasses (what's left of sugarcane juice after processing white sugar out of it).
  4. Less than 5 percent of rum is made from fresh sugar cane juice. It's really hard to do
  5. Dried sugar-based rums are the easiest to make and by definition, have the least flavor
  6. All spirits including Rum come out of the still perfectly clear and with no sugar
  7. Most of the biggest rum brands are colored and/or heavily flavored. Think Myers, Captain Morgan and Malibu.
  8. Many other rum producers also add smaller amounts of sugar to make their rum yummy
  9. We want to make yummy rum instead of rum yummy

We believe the more you know, the more you love it. We want to make you a rum fan and to get you started, here are some facts about rum:

  • All rum is made from sugarcane products.
    • The vast majority of the world’s rum is made from molasses (the left-over substance after sugarcane juice is processed into white sugar).
    • A small, and growing percentage is made from processed sugar including demerara sugar, evaporated cane juice, or just plain white sugar.
    • Rum Agricole, which makes up about 3 percent of the market, is distilled from pure, fresh sugar cane juice.
  • Every spirit (rum, gin, whiskey, etc…) comes out of the still clear with a distinct taste.
    • “Gold” Rum is white rum with caramel syrup in it, “Dark” Rum is white rum with darker syrup in it
  • Barrel aging makes a spirit brown and adds some flavor, naturally.
  • Rum does not need any added colors, flavorings or sweeteners to be delicious. Great rum starts with great ingredients, master distilling, and careful aging.
  • More than 90% of all of the rums in the American market have added colors, flavorings and/or sweeteners after distillation, to improve their tastes, unknown to the public.
  • We add a special mixture of yeast and let it ferment about three days in temperature-contolled tanks
  • We let our Kuleana Hawaiian Rum Agricolerest in stainless steel tanks and/oroak barrels for up to 90 days.

Kuleana does not add any sweeteners, flavors or colors to its rums.

Kuleana Rum Agricole

Rum agricole is made from fresh-pressed sugarcane juice. Because rum agricole requires expert crafting and fresh sugarcane, less than five percent of the world’s rums are made as agricole. At Kuleana Rum Works, we distill fresh Hawaiian sugarcane juice into elegant rum agricole using the 40 varieties of kō (heirloom Hawaiian sugarcane) grown on our farm in Kohala, Hawaiʻi.

  • We grow and cultivate all 40 varieties of heirloom kō on our farm.
  • We hand-cut approximately 700 stalks of kō (weighing an average of 3 pounds each) per batch.
  • We crush the stalks in an old sugar mill, producing about 150 gallons of juice.
  • We add a special variety of yeast and let it ferment about 30 hours in temperature-controlled tanks.
  • The sugarcane “beer” is pumped into our hand-made 600-liter copper alembic still.
  • We use the french Cognac method of distillation, which is laborious, but produces an incredible product.
  • We let our Hawaiian Rum Agricole rest in barrels for up to 90 days
  • We mature our Hawaiian Aged Rum Agricole in Cognac barrels until it is ready and achieves the perfect balance of agricoleness and barrel magic.

Kuleana Blended Rums

  • Kuleana Rum Works blends its own rums because the quality of the rum makes a dramatic difference in the taste of a cocktail. We meticulously hand source the highest quality rums from around the world, chosen for their purity and rich taste, and create innovative products that make cocktails and lips sing without.
  • While we love the pure, unique taste of rum agricole, we also believe there is a great opportunity to make fantastic tasting rums from molasses. Unfortunately, with the demise of the sugar industry in Hawaii, there is no more Hawaiian molasses. So we did the next best thing. We scoured the earth, seeking the best molasses-based rums that adhere to the Kuleana promise of no added sweeteners, flavorings or colorings.
  • Our Huihui blends a delicious, light, molasses-based Papua New Guinea rum with Kuleana Hawaiian Rum Agricole as well as an exceptional agricole from Martinique.
  • For Naneawe blend three carefully-selected, variously-aged rums from around the world, meticulously considering how each contributes to the foundation, body and accent.