Hagar 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
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:
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. Redrocker.com for his site and links to the entire Sammy empire. Aloha.