Vodka maker purchases Maui pineapple farm
Principals of a California-based maker and distributor of distilled spirits have bought a pineapple farm on Maui that was once part of a more than 100-year-old plantation.
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Principals of a California-based maker and distributor of distilled spirits have bought a pineapple farm on Maui that was
once part of a more than 100-year-old plantation.
Members of the LeVecke family announced Wednesday that they acquired
ownership of Hali’imaile Pineapple Co. in March
and will continue to grow pineapples under the Maui Gold name on 800 acres.
A purchase price was not disclosed.
The LeVecke family, whose Mira Loma, Calif.-based LeVecke Corp. does more than $100 million
in annual sales, owns
Hali’imaile Distilling Co., which was formed in 2005, and makes PAU Maui Vodka from Maui Gold pineapples grown at the neighboring Hali’imaile Pineapple Co.
The relationship between the companies led to the transaction. After the owners of Hali’imaile Pineapple expressed a desire to get out of the business, LeVecke offered to buy the farm,
according to LeVecke’s announcement.
“We saw an opportunity to step up and take on the responsibility to keep pineapple growing on Maui,”
Joe LeVecke, president of LeVecke Corp., said in a statement.
The pineapple company employs 56 people now but increases its workforce to about 70 during harvesting.
Hali’imaile Pineapple, which also uses the name Maui Gold Pineapple Co., was formed in 2010 when former executives of Maui Land &Pineapple Co.
partnered with the owner
of Ulupalakua Ranch to
take over major pineapple
operations that were
being shut down by Maui Land.
Maui Land had farmed pineapple for more than
100 years, and the takeover by Hali’imaile Pineapple saved 65 jobs and continued a tradition of pineapple farming on Maui, though
on a smaller scale.
Hali‘imaile Pineapple leased about 1,000 acres of the 3,000 acres that Maui Land had cultivated.
The majority owner of
Hali’imaile Pineapple at formation was Ulupalakua Ranch owner Pardee Erdman. Doug Schenk, former president of Maui Land’s pineapple subsidiary, led the new management team. Other principals who started Hali’imaile Pineapple were Doug MacCluer,
Ed Chenchin, Darren Strand and Rudy Balala.
LeVecke Corp. was founded in 1949 and has built brands including
Hana Bay Rum, Whalers Rum and Paniolo Whisky. The company also is involved in wholesale distribution of beer and wine.