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The Ultimate Guide to Two Hawai‘i Alcohol Producers: Kō Hana Distillers and Hana Koa Brewing Co.

Let’s play a drinking game.



It was a Dark ’n’ Stormy night. Or maybe an Old-Fashioned one. All we know is Kō Hana was there … or was it Hana Koa? We swear we’re not seeing double: The two local alcohol producers walked into a bar, and we haven’t been able to keep them straight since.


SEE ALSO: First Look: Hana Koa Brewing Co.: Kaka‘ako’s Newest Brewery and Largest Taproom





The work of the sugar cane.





Craft warrior.

Established in 2011 as a rum distillery, two years earlier as a farm. There are currently 34 varieties of sugar cane growing on 50 acres in Kunia.




 Craft brewery opened in November 2019 in a former Coca-Cola warehouse
in Kaka‘ako.

Unlike most rum made from molasses, Kō Hana rum uses fresh-pressed cane juice, made in small batches (agricole style). Each of the sugar cane varieties at Kō Hana produces a different rum.





The brewery features about 20 beers at a time on 45 rotating taps, including hazy IPAs, pale ales, lagers, sours and stouts. There’s a full food menu that has featured marlin toast, beer-braised brisket, pork belly sliders and more.

Roughly 5,000 cases per year.





The 15-barrel system produces about 60 kegs per batch.

Kea, the unadulterated white rum, works best as a base for cocktails. Koho, aged in oak barrels, develops a smoother, sweeter flavor, while cask-strength Koa has a rich taste and mouthfeel and is best served neat. 



Drinking Experience


Most of the beers have between 4.2% and 5.5% alcohol. The lighter ones are clean and bright with fruity notes. We love La Hacienda, a malty dark lager, and the Dortmunder Mifflin Tropical German Lager.

Kokoleka rum: mixed with local cacao from Mānoa Chocolate and raw honey from Mānoa Honey, $55. Kō Hana Provisions coffee: local coffee beans aged in barrels that have been used to age rum, $20.





Hana Koa’s goal is to give back to the community in a meaningful way, through events and partnerships. Most recently, Hana Koa released its version of All Together, a worldwide collab IPA that supports hospitality workers.

Kō Hana Koa is aged in, you guessed it, a koa barrel, and is exclusively available in the tasting room for $175 a bottle. The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative plants 50 koa trees for each batch of Kō Hana Koa, which takes two years to mature.





Roof Top Pale Ale is Hana Koa’s most popular beer, named after head brewer Josh Kopp and director of operations Chrissie Kopp’s summertime tradition. They were married on a rooftop last summer and held their reception at the brewery.

Drink fresh cane juice, explore the garden, taste four kinds of rum (and, if you’re lucky, rum cake) and take home a souvenir glass. $25 ($15 for kama‘āina).






Check out the brewery operations, learn about vertical fermentation, taste the grains and smell the hops used. $15, includes a four-beer flight of your choice.

92-1770 Kunia Road, Kunia Camp, kohanarum.com, @kohanarum



The Info


962 Kawaiaha‘o St., hanakoabrewing.com, @hanakoabrewing


SEE ALSO: Drink Local Guide: Where to Get Locally Crafted Spirits in Hawai‘i


Read more stories by Katrina Valcourt



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