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Finally, it seems, the whisky renaissance has shone a spotlight on Canadian. It's not that Canadian whisky hasn't long been popular in the U.S.—whiskies from up north are second only to bourbon here, though more than half the volume, according to 2014 numbers from DISCUS, occurs in the lowest price tier.

Growth has been elusive, as for many years the major brands focused on smoothness over flavor as a selling point, keeping the details of production and history mostly under wraps at a time when popcorn vodka was being replaced by robust brown spirits.

But lately, Canadian has been getting plenty of attention, topped off with the recent selection by writer Jim Murray of Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye as the Whisky of the Year in his annual influential Whisky Bible.

"We Canadians do ourselves a disservice by not telling the story of the heritage and quality of Canadian whisky," says Dr. Don Livermore, Master Blender at the Hiram Walker Distillery. "We make rye whisky very, very well, and we're starting to see a change in consumers now looking for more flavor. My qualitative observation is that consumers today are looking for bigger, bolder and more complex whiskies."

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Chad M. Rufenacht, Beverage Director of Tropics Tap House, is a fun-loving, intelligent and hard-working young man whose values stem from his family dynamics and of his beloved hometown of Archbold, Ohio. Chad and his brothers were raised in a country lifestyle where they were responsible for raising and selling their cows and pigs, taking care of the home with mother while father worked as the town's mechanic. In addition, they are a diehard wrestling and football family. When not tending to chores or school, Chad was out jet skiing on his family's ¾ acre pond, fishing, hunting or dirt biking on his 1984 Kawasaki KX60 2-Stroke. "When I was 11 years old, I bungeed a small tank of gas to my dirt bike and I drove for miles, practically all day!" Chad fondly remembers. Read more>>