LeVecke Family Celebrates Six Months at Maui Gold Pineapple Co.
In March, the LeVecke family, owners of Hāliʻimaile Distilling Company and their flagship brand PAU Maui Vodka, acquired Hāliʻimaile Pineapple Company and its dba, Maui Gold Pineapple Company, as part of the continued growth of the distillery’s brands. The LeVecke family’s purchase of Maui Gold Pineapple Company included the base yard in Hāliʻimaile and nearly 800 acres of fields.
“As the old saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun,” said Joe LeVecke, President of LeVecke Corp. who oversees operations for Hāliʻimaile Distilling and Maui Gold Pineapple Company. “We’re at exactly six months as the new owners and we couldn’t be happier with the progress of the company and, most of all, our employees. We still have a long way to go, but we’re on the right track.”
The LeVecke family hosted their first annual Hāliʻimaile Lā ‘Ohana Saturday, Sept. 1, on the lawn fronting Hāliʻimaile Distilling Company.
Joe LeVecke said, “our family knew from day one that we wanted to host a BBQ for their now extended family of 68 employees from the farm and distillery. We wanted to share our family traditions with our employees and enjoy all things Maui-style. We roasted a pig in an imu and maximized this opportunity as a team building activity for our leadership staff. We reached out to our friends at Four Sisters Catering to provide local and Hawaiian food, and we went back to our childhood days and dug up a few LeVecke family games.”
“Hāliʻimaile Lā ‘Ohana was also a time to present our newly established employee recognition awards and some of our accomplishments,” he said.
Maui Gold Pineapple Company reports the following accomplishments made over six months:
- Improved yields and reduced waste: By end of the year, plans are to plant 110 acres, nearly tripling the amount planted in previous years’ plantings.
- Created partnerships to grow revenue and promote independent farmers.
- Streamlined and improved payables.
- Maintained supply.
- Created a mentorship program with a focus on career growth.
- In the spirit of the traditional Hawaiian land division, the company is developing a community-giving program that is ahupua’a driven and focused, from mauka to makai, on finding ways to give back to the community.
- Established an employee recognition program to present to individuals at the annual Hāliʻimaile Lā ‘Ohana. The inaugural recipients included: Lee Tanaka of Maui Gold Pineapple Co. and Sherwin Sanchez of Maui Gold Pineapple Co. received the Above and Beyond Award; Darlin Kaya of Hāliʻimaile Distilling Co. was honored with the Customer Driven Award; and Kary Hishashima of Maui Gold Pineapple Co., received the Platinum Pineapple Award.
Company executives say Hāliʻimaile Distilling Company continues to grow its network of distribution, export, retail, bars and restaurants. The distillery offers tastings and tours, and Hāliʻimaile Pineapple Company will continue to offer “pineapple tours” with its partner Maui Pineapple Tours.
Maui Gold Pineapple Company was created in 2010 by former Maui Pineapple Company employees who were committed to saving the 100-year tradition of pineapple on Maui.
The LeVecke family operates under the LeVecke Corporation in Mira Loma, Calif. It is a wholesale distributor of beer and wine and rectifier of distilled spirits. With annual sales in excess of $100 million per year, the LeVeckes’ have remained an independent family-owned company since William R. LeVecke and his sons, Reed and Neil LeVecke, founded it in 1949.
The company has had ties to the Hawaiian Islands for over 30 years, building brands like Hāna Bay Rum and Whalers Rum. In 2005, brothers Neil and Tim LeVecke built a business model of developing their own micro-distillery on Maui. They recruited Mark Nigbur, a master distiller from Colorado who designed his own glass stills. In 2006, Nigbur and his family moved to Maui, and four years later, Hāliʻimaile Distilling Company was born.
Today, the distillery has won multiple awards for its flagship product: PAU Maui Vodka, made from Maui Gold pineapples. The Makawao facility also produces other unique spirits, including its Fid Street Gin, Maui Moon island-inspired flavored vodkas; its Paniolo line of blended whiskeys; and Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, developed with rocker Sammy Hagar.