LeVecke Wine, Beer & Spirits
LeVecke Wine, Beer & Spirits invests in a new automated canning line
and sees its one-of-a-kind PAU Maui Vodka brand grow to new heights.
By Kat Zeman
There’s a new vodka on the market – and it’s the only one of its kind. Most vodkas are made from fermented grains such as sorghum, corn, rice, rye, wheat or even potatoes.
But now there’s PAU Maui Vodka, which is made from Hawaiian spring water, Maui Gold Pineapples and other natural ingredients found in Maui. It is distilled through unique glass stills, creating a crisp and clean vodka that personifies the luscious volcanic slopes and sandy beaches of its home.
Manufactured in Maui by LeVecke Wine, Beer & Spirits, PAU Maui Vodka is the newest and fastest-growing brand for the Mira Loma, Calif.-based company.
“It’s the first and only vodka distilled from pineapple,” says Joe LeVecke, president of the family-owned company, which is one of the highest-volume distilled spirits providers in the United States producing more than 2,500 different brands. “PAU Maui Vodka is distilled to absolute purity leaving only a hint of sweetness on the back end.”
Developed in 2006, PAU Maui Vodka – along with a number of other unique Hawaiian spirits – is produced in Maui at the company’s Hali’imaile Distilling Company, a true craft distillery nestled on the slopes of Haleakala Crater amongst pineapple fields.
“My father and uncle wanted to open a distillery in Maui and create something authentically Hawaiian,” LeVecke says. “They tried distilling other indigenous fruits or vegetables but pineapple proved to be, by far, the best.”
PAU Maui Vodka was initially only available in Hawaii. But LeVecke brought it to the West Coast last year and now has nationwide distribution The company is also in the process of taking the brand global.
“It’s a really fast-growing brand for our company,” LeVecke says. “We’re excited about its growth potential.”
Aside from PAU Maui Vodka, LeVecke Wine, Beer & Spirits makes an authentic Hawaiian gin. Fid Street Hawaiian Gin is crafted with 11 Hawaiian botanicals and distilled in unique glass stills.
Reminiscent of a London Dry, it exhibits a juniper-first profile with an aromatic fresh-cut floral and citrus bouquet, smooth enough to enjoy neat but bursting with Hawaiian botanicals that stand up to any cocktail mixer.
“We started it about three years ago,” LeVecke says. “It’s primarily sold in Hawaii but we’re starting to distribute on the mainland, primarily in southern California. Our plan is to take it to nationwide distribution in the next 12 months.”
LeVecke Wine, Beer & Spirits has a 180,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and two warehouses in Mira Loma, Calif. One of its fast-growing brands that’s manufactured on the mainland is Jesse James Bourbon Whiskey, in partnership with Jesse James Dupree, lead singer of the rock band Jackyl.
Seeing an extreme growth in demand for canned ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails, LeVecke Wine, Beer & Spirits has invested in a new fully-automated canning line.
“Canned RTD products are the fastest growing segment in our industry,” LeVecke says. “Because of its pace, there’s an extreme lack of capacity for manufacturing, especially on the West Coast. We have had a surge of brand owners knocking down our doors to get production time on our canning lines.”
LeVecke Wine, Beer & Spirits offers its own brand of canned RTD cocktails. Its Beagans 1806 canned cocktails come in 13 flavors.
“It’s going to be a big part of our business going forward,” LeVecke says. “We foresee investing in another canning line within the next few years based on how fast it’s growing.”
Aside from its new canning line, the company’s new import business is growing fast. Last year, it stated a joint venture with French partners to take over Hardy USA. Its new import business is called HM LeVesque.
“It’s growing our LeVecke Corporation brands as well as international brands,” LeVecke says, specifically mentioning Hardy Cognac, Fiorente Elderflower Liqueur and Tempus Fugit liqueur.
A Family-Owned Company
Although the company has seen lots of growth, LeVecke Wine, Beer & Spirits remains a family-owned company since William R. LeVecke and his sons, Reed and Neil LeVecke Sr., founded it in 1949.
“It was started by my great grandfather,” LeVecke says. “My cousins and I are humbled to be part of the fourth generation of family leadership.”
Current family members involved in the business include his father Tim LeVecke (chairman) and his uncle Neil LeVecke (CEO). In addition, two of his cousins and brother-in-law run sales, marketing and operations.
The multi-faceted company is a brand builder, importing, representing and building national brands across the globe. It also has the experience of decades long support, supplying every national retail chain in the country.