If there’s one thing we’re proud to be a part of, it’s our Maui craft community. With creations that range from farm-to-mug coffee to locally brewed beer and handcrafted goat cheeses, our craft ohana are continually kicking coconuts and taking names, and inspiring each other to continue doing what they do best: create.
This month, we are proud to present our third Take 5 Interview with the oh so talented Mark Nigbur, Master Distiller at Maui’s own Hali’imaile Distilling Company. Focusing on small batch, craft Hawaiian spirits, Hali’imaile Distilling Company is the mastermind behind beloved artisanal brands like PAU Maui Vodka, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, Paniolo Whiskey, Maui Moon Vodka and Fid Street Hawaiian Gin.
Take 5 with: Mark of Hali’imaile Distilling Company
Q: What are the advantages of living in Hawaii when it comes to the craft food & beverage business?
Hawaii’s abundance of agricultural treasures makes it a truly unique area for spirits and cuisine. The flavorful and colorful ingredients that surround us in Maui make it a literal paradise for distillers, brewers, and chefs. We can practice a true farm-to-bottle process by being located directly across from the fields of the Maui Gold pineapples we use in our distilling.
Q: What is your philosophy when it comes to distilling spirits?
To make the cleanest spirits you must start with the finest ingredients. Beginning with locally-grown fresh ingredients, our team can distill our spirits into their purest form possible. The world is starting to be more conscious and discerning about what is in the food and drinks they consume, so our products are a perfect choice for them.
Q: Who (or where) do you look to for inspiration for your company?
Our local community and distillery visitors inspire me. We are lucky to have people from all over the world come visit us and share their passion for craft spirits. We also are closely surrounded by a supportive community that inspire us every day with their creativity and spirit of Aloha. I love to observe what they drink, eat, and how they react when dining. It drives me to create products to transform a moment into an unforgettable experience for them.
Q: What, if any, special projects do you have planned for the coming year?
Our company is focusing more on sustainability and being as earth conscious as possible in all that we do. We want to distill our spirits in ways that only positively impact and nurture our environment. From social media campaigns promoting the use of compostable paper straws over plastic, to taking part in beach cleanups and awareness events, we want to stay active in the continuing effort to respect our Hawaii home.
Q: What’s the most rewarding aspect of the business?
The feedback from our customers is what drives my team to do what we do. It’s very rewarding to create products that make them smile. We are very proud of the land and community of Maui and all of Hawaii and are appreciative that we get to share it with the world through our quality craft spirits.
Q: Give us two cool facts about yourself or your business. Go!
I am a potter and create ceramics with my fiancée, and I love experimenting with rare ingredients when brainstorming new spirits or cooking in the kitchen.
Massive mahalo to Mark for participating in our ‘Take 5’ interview series, and be sure to join our Taste of Maui and Field to Glass Tour for a behind-the-scenes look at the Hali’imaile Distilling process and spirit tasting. A hui hou, readers…