Sammy Hagar Debuts “Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum”

Sammy Hagar Debuts his Maui RumHagar was at the Hard Rock Honolulu last week, promoting his new spirit, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, distilled on Maui. It is currently available for sale only in Hawaii, but Hagar plans to expand distribution to the rest of the U.S. starting in Spring 2012. Also, he says, plans are in the works to create a pineapple-infused rum and an aged dark rum.

From Honolulu Magazine:

Sammy Hagar Debuts his Maui Rum

John Heckathorn

For a Rock’n’Roll Hall of Famer, Sammy Hagar seems like a pretty normal guy.

Especially for someone who survived 11 years as the lead singer for Van Halen.  And whose tequila brand, Cabo Wabo, has made him a millionaire many times over.

Hagar was at the Hard Rock Honolulu yesterday, promoting his new spirit, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, distilled on Maui by Mark Nigbur of Pau Vodka.  Nigbur looks remarkably like Hagar, same curly blond locks, same air of rock’n’roll abandon. (That’s the two of them below at the distillery, Hagar left, Nigbur right.)

Hagar, who has a home on Maui, had been given a bottle of the vodka and made an appointment to meet Nigbur in the corner of the old Maui Pine cannery where Nigbur distills vodka out of pineapple juice in glass stills.

They took one look at one another. Recalls Nigbur: “I said, Oh F—.  He said, Oh F—.  And his wife said, Oh, F—!!! This is trouble.”

“I asked, Can you make rum?,” recalls Hagar.  “He said he’d give it a try.”  A couple of years later, they have a finished product.

The rum’s not just a celebrity deal, insists Nigbur.  “Sammy has an amazing palate, he knows what he’s doing.  When he liked the rum, I knew we had something.”

For an unaged silver rum, Sammy’s Beach Bar has a surprising smoothness.  Like Nigbur’s vodka, it’s small-batch distilled and designed to be sipped, neat or on the rocks (which would be much better than the overly sweet cocktails the Hard Rock was proferring at the opening).

Nigbur may be right: Hagar knows his spirits.  The Cabo Wabo tequila story bears that out.

“I wasn’t looking to start a tequila brand, ” recalls Hagar.  “I just wanted better tequila for my bar in Cabo [San Lucas]. A friend of mine said he knew this family of old tequila makers in Jalisco.”

The two made a road trip.  “It was the best tequila I’d ever tasted,” said Hagar.  “I would have been grateful if they just let me slap a label on a few bar bottles.  Instead, we ended up with an importer from Napa and it took off.”

The blue agave tequila won its share of accolades, including a gold medal at 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.  It rose to being the No. 2 selling tequila in the United States.

Gruppo Campari, which didn’t have a tequila brand, came calling.  “I thought, hey, I love that tequila, the company’s making money, I’m having fun, why sell?” recalls Hagar, noting that Campari wasn’t offering a life-changing amount of money.

“So I said to myself, what would be a life-changing amount of money?  I asked them for that,” says Hagar.  “You know what? They came back and said yes.”  He sold 80 percent of Cabo Wabo to Campari for $80 million.

“I decided I’d never do anything for money again,” he says.  “Now I never do anything unless it’s fun, unless it makes me happy.”

He gestures to a bottle of Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum.  “This is fun.  I’m happy.”


From Hawaii Magazine:

Rocker Sammy Hagar launches Maui-made rum in Waikiki, shares mai tai recipe
by: Sherie Char
posted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Former Van Halen front man, part-time Maui resident and celebrity liquor distiller Sammy Hagar is behind the latest addition to an ever-growing list of made-in-Hawaii spirits.

Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, a silver rum made from Hawaii-grown sugar cane, is the result of partnership between Hagar and Haliimaile Distilling Company on Maui. Both partners claim roots in the libations industry.

Hagar personally introduced Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum last night at the Hard Rock Café in Waikiki (pictured, below) to a gathering of eager fans and media, including HAWAII Magazine.

We asked Hagar about the origin of the idea to create the new rum. In response, he said: “The Islands inspired me.”  He adds,  “I just love it here. When I get off the plane, I’m bombarded with the warmest, richest feelings. Hawaii affects all of my senses.”

Hagar has two homes on Maui and owns five Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill locations nationwide, including one at the Maui International Airport.

Hagar’s rum uses sugarcane grown only in Hawaii. Why? “I can get sugar from other places,” says Hagar, “but I don’t want to because it doesn’t taste as good.”

Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum is distilled in Maui from first-growth, first-press sugar cane. According to a press release, “Unlike other premium rums, which follow a standard one-year maturation period for the cane, (cane used in) Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum matures for a full two years, giving the sugar from the cane its intense character.”

It is currently available for sale only in Hawaii, but Hagar plans to expand distribution to the rest of the U.S. in early 2012.

“We wanted to launch it in Hawaii first,” says Stephen Kauffman, president of Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum. He notes that it will be available on the U.S. mainland starting in Spring 2012.  Also, he says, plans are in the works to create a pineapple-infused rum and an aged dark rum.

Haliimaile Distilling is the maker of Pau Maui Vodka, premium vodka distilled from Maui Gold pineapples. Hagar has turned the handmade tequila served in his Cabo Wabo chain of nightclubs and restaurants into one of the top-selling premium tequila brands in the nation.

Hagar’s favorite way of enjoying his new rum?

“Three ounces of rum, one ice cube (yes, that’s just one rock) and a drop of a citrus, whether it’s lime, lemon or orange. For an added kick, try adding a quarter grind of pepper,” Hagar says.

OK, and how about a hard-rockin’ mai tai recipe, Sammy? Here it is.

Sammy’s Original Maui Mai Tai

Ingredients: 1½ oz. Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, ½ oz. orange curacao, ¾ oz. lychee juice/syrup, and 1 oz. fresh sour.

Directions: Pour ingredients over ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake, then strain into a rocks glass, drizzle dark rum into the cocktail, garnish and serve.

For more drink recipes and other information about Sammy’s Beach Bar rum, click here.



Sammy Hagar in Honolulu: See the interview video from earlier this week in Waikiki

It was an honor to join the folks over at the Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu for the launch of Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum.

Coming as Hagar and Chickenfoot also have… put their foot down… on the very serious issues of unemployment/homelessness/hunger via their new Three & A Half Letters (I Need A Job), we dig into two sides of the coin: the fantastic new Maui-made product providing jobs and agricultural-related exports for Hawai`i; on the opposite end: the devastating situation the country finds itself in economically as 2011 comes to an end. Two sides of the spectrum of life with Sammy Hagar. Hope you dig it. for his site and links to the entire Sammy empire. Aloha.

  • Shine On

    I’d like to try that aged dark rum when it comes out, as that kind of stuff makes for one mean mai-tai.

  • Truth

    what’s next? DLR spandex?

  • T-Daddy

    I used to really like Sammy. Now he just seems like a bitter, old “Jimmy Buffett wannabe.” Along with their manufactured “beach bum” persona, they have another thing in common – they both haven’t had a big hit song in decades.

  • Ace

    Sam He Am does not have the best rum in the world.

    That is an over the top exaggeration.

  • sank

    An average (albeit lucky) musician.

  • Herb

    Yeah T-Daddy….he sure seems bitter. Nothing to be happy about at all.

  • http://None Dirty Duck

    If your father was an alcoholic, why would selling booze be something to be proud about?

  • dan slaughter

    Honestly…I was kinda shocked that Sammy went and did another manufactured booze venture. It does make me wonder why he would spend the time and money on this….then I hear that MOTORHEAD has their own wine…that AC/DC has FOUR different wines(only available down under)with catch names based on songs and Joe Perry sells hot sauce. So it seems, all rock gods are into extreme captialism by selling booze or food. More power to them. Makes me more inclined to buy their product.

  • jaaphalen

    @ dirty duck-interesting point there.

  • http://None Dirty Duck


    I might plunk down some cash for that! ;)

  • D.O.A.

    @ jaaphalen (and to some degree dirty duck)

    No, it isn’t really an interesting point.

    Duck, I think you and I are probably more alike than not. However, I feel that your post is bordering absurd, though I can take it with a grain of salt because of your stance about Sammy.

    Because my father is a diabetic, and clearly overweight should I not feel proud that I’m the head chef (and make a damn good living) in a restaraunt that is well known for not serving the healthiest of dishes?

    That one could belong on the VHND’s equivalent to ESPN Countdown’s “Come on man!”

  • jaaphalen

    @ D.O.A.-not knocking Sam for his business interests. Also, no as a head chef you should be glad. Regardless of your dads condition. I just know folks who had parents w/ alcohol problems-they hated the results. Thats all. We live in the land of choices. I respect them. To each his own.

  • Dr. Strange

    Dirty Duck says:
    “If your father was an alcoholic, why would selling booze be something to be proud about?”

    Because he’s a scumbag who only cares about money, money, money.

  • Herb

    Cool. I’ll give it a sip.

    What a preposterous thing to be so judgemental about. Take a look in the mirror.

    Clearly there’s a much better example of scumbag here judging from dr stranges post.

  • Dimer

    So let me get this straight…

    Does my dad who was also an alcoholic and pretty much drank himself to death, make me a scumbag because I like to make my own beer?

    Sorry man….Hagar isn’t the one who’s a scumbag up in here.

  • JUmp and DAnce the night away!

    Hey Sam! I’ll buy one or two of those. by the way, you were right about Van Halen. no grammy show, no songs, maybe no album. or least a good album…. fuck em. Chickenfoot rocks! If Van Halen with Dave is playing an arena in town, and Chickenfoot is playing a club, I’ll be there in the club listening to Chickenfoot rocking the fucking house down! Long live the FOOT!

  • http://None Dirty Duck


    You clearly missed my point man, but since we’re supposidly more alike then not I’ll let it go…

    I personally have never lived with an alcoholic, but knew some who have. From what I hear, It’s not a pretty site. And from what sam has said in the past re; his father, I guess I’m just suprised how into promoting liquor he is after all his “horror stories” re; booze. You have to admit, the man does come off as a little bi polar when it comes to his views and feelings on things.

  • MasVH

    He should’ve named it Rum Candy!

    Hagar should get Montrose back together.

  • D.O.A.

    hey Duck…thanks.

    I dunno, maybe I’m confused. I thought you were saying it somehow wasn’t right that a guy should be ashamed of some of the success he’s achieved because of his father’s history.

    True enough: Alcoholism is very tough to deal with, as is most any other disease you can name.

    I just don’t see how a person’s business accumen should be judged by a friend or relative’s choices or afflictions. As I said, my father is obese and has diabetes. Each is a disease. With your supposition, should I feel less than extraordinarily proud of my accomplishments? Hell no.

    As far as being “bi polar,” well I just don’t know how to answer the question. The only way I can respond is by saying Sam’s always been pretty straight forward about his fondness to party. I don’t find much fault in that either.


  • Shine On

    Good call by MasVH: “He should’ve named it Rum Candy!”

  • Shine On

    When I saw that photo of Mark Nigbur, I thought Sammy was looking at a wax figure of himself.

  • Shine On

    “Unlike other premium rums, which follow a standard one-year maturation period for the cane, (cane used in) Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum matures for a full two years, giving the sugar from the cane its intense character.”

    DAMN, that makes it sound delicious, and I can’t wait to try the pineapple-infused rum, as well, after reading that!