Editor’s Page: Keeping It Local

From what we eat and drink to where we work, local matters.
Robbie Dingeman

The slogan “Buy Local, It Matters” echoes through our Island brains as something that just makes common sense. It resides somewhere near conserving water and energy, helping out when we’re needed by family, friends and our community. It’s understood but not something we dwell on. And though it started out as a local food slogan, it works for more.


Decades ago, the chefs of Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine gave the idea real momentum by nurturing the farm-to-table movement, highlighting locally grown food, encouraging farmers to grow more and different varieties, forging relationships that helped support each other. Now, the food and beverage industry is doing the same, raising the bar on locally crafted beverages. And that’s why our cover story, Drink Local, came together. Pint + Jigger owner Dave Newman is among those encouraged by the growth he’s seeing and serving, from a wide variety of locally produced beer, wine, spirits and even a recently launched local cider company. “Naturally, it made sense for the drinks to follow the food,” Newman says.


To help us showcase what’s best about local drinks, Newman invited the HONOLULU creative team and three other talented bartenders, Kyle Reutner, who is currently brand manager for Kō Hana Hawaiian Agricole Rum and Manulele Distillers,  Alicia Yamachika of Azure and Max Kamm, also of P+J. We’re very grateful the four of them spent hours mixing various drinks as the team of Kristin Lipman, Louis Scheer and photographer Steve Czerniak found fresh, beautiful ways to display these local drinks.


Without giving away too much of the behind-the-scenes magic, getting some of the more stunning shots took a few tries. As we encouraged Newman to pour a drink with a bigger splash, he wryly responded, “It took me 20 years to learn how not to splash.”


Chandra Lam Lucariello, of Southern Wine & Spirits, couldn’t make it to Pint + Jigger that day, but she still created a special recipe for HONOLULU Magazine that’s part of our story.


“It took me 20 years to learn how not to splash.” –Dave Newman


Across town in Kaka‘ako, Aloha Beer Co. brewmaster Dave Campbell looks out across the three-part business he and Steve Sombrero have built. There’s an indoor bar/restaurant, an open-air carport and an upstairs HI Brau Room with an eclectic speakeasy vibe. After working with a bigger company, Campbell is happily rooted back in the still-humble parts of Kaka‘ako, across from Lex Brodie’s tire shop.


On a more wistful note, many in Hawai‘i’s journalism community have spent the past few months thinking back on the importance of local ownership with the sudden death of Dave Pellegrin. The former editor/publisher/owner of HONOLULU Magazine spent years sharpening the focus of this magazine into one that is written by and for residents, rather than a visitor publication once dedicated to encouraging tourism. We put together a tribute to say aloha and mahalo to Dave in this issue, and quickly filled it with fascinating stories about the difference he made.


Dave Pellegrin
The late Dave Pellegrin celebrating his 70th birthday bungee jumping in New Zealand.
photo: courtesy of kathleen pellegrin


I was honored to get to know Dave better in the past three years because he kindly offered lunch, advice and counsel to me as an unofficial mentor, even though he’d sold the magazine more than a decade earlier to another inspiring local entrepreneur, Duane Kurisu. Thanks to Dave, Duane and all those who inspire us right here at home, and remind us of the importance of buying local.


Thoughts about the magazine? Please email me at robbied@honolulumagazine.com.