Blog: A taste of what you may find on Maui

The gin taste-off

UPDATE! I found a third Maui gin ~ FID Street Gin by the Hali’imaile Distilling Company. I officially have too much gin in the house.

The other night we went to the Maui Brewing Company for dinner. As we were waiting for the rest of our group, I noticed some Kupu Spirits items for sale, specifically gin. I am the first to admit I don’t know much about gin, but I do enjoy sipping it straight. I had to wonder – how does it compare to Fy gin? We needed to do a taste-off. Naturally I bought a bottle of Kupu gin – for research. And to report about on my blog. Then it’s a write-off, right? Maybe.

The Maui Brewing Company is a fixture on Maui. It is the largest craft beer brewing company in Hawaii, with its brewery located right here in Kihei in the Maui Tech and Research Park. They originally started in 2005 in Lahaina but moved into their state-of-the-art facility in Kihei in 2014. Yes, they offer tours of their facility, and you can actually look right into the brewery when seated at their Kihei restaurant. Do check them out when on Maui! Here is a 2019 interview with MBC owner John Holl about the beer, their sustainable facility and much more

Kupu Spirits is a brand extension of Maui Brewing Company and started in 2019. They distill their own award-winning whiskey and gin and amaro.

Here is what they say about their Kupu Gin:

Distilled from grain and a proprietary blend of botanicals including juniper, makrut lime, local oranges, lemon peel, licorice root, and hibiscus. Refined to perfection.

Kupu Spirits website

Gin #2 in our taste-off is Fy Gin, a sister-product to Ocean Vodka, and is also manufactured right here on Maui. Per Fy Gin’s website, it is comprised of sugar cane, juniper, lime, lavender and ginger. They have a (to me) humorous differentiation as to how they are better than the staple gin London Dry.

Have you been to Ocean Vodka’s farm? If you enjoy vodka, rum or gin, do check out their farm/distillery, store and cafe. They recommend reservations for tours.

Gin #3 is now added after the fact, FID Street Gin, a product by Hali’imaile Distilling Company. I hadn’t been able to find this one at Safeway or the ABC store in Kihei last week, but Foodland had it yesterday. It has the most ingredients, at least per their website, including pineapple! I must say, the bottle is the coolest of the three.

It is a sister product to Pau Vodka (a Maui pineapple based vodka) and Paniolo Blended Whiskey. They are located in Hali’imaile, across from the Hali’imaile General Store (have you eaten there yet? This is another restaurant owned by chef Bev Gannon, fantastic food).

our gin taste-off

The taste-off

My group of amateur tasters consisted of Sig and myself, together with our cousins. We didn’t have any tonic, so we were tasting it straight. The results are as follows

  • four prefer Fy gin. Something about a smoother finish
  • one prefers Kupu gin. He couldn’t tell me why exactly, maybe because he likes their beer and is loyal to the brand? It is very good also, slightly higher alcohol content.
  • add on – FID Street gin. So far we have had two taste-testers on this one. However the results are in – both of us like this one the most. 1. Fid Street, 2. Fy, 3. Kupu.

We all agreed that the results may be different as mixed drinks. I will need to invite more friends to do these taste-offs. I don’t know when we’ll drink all this gin!

Who says a gin taste-off has to occur in the kitchen. We got fancy and took it outside to the fire table.

A little more on Ocean Vodka

We used to drive up to Ocean Vodka (and the neighboring Surfing Goat Farm) regularly. Here is a pre-Covid-era blog with what their employees told me about Fy gin. The bottle is pretty. And, they also have a great Coconut Rum.

We had a gin taste-off of two of Maui's gins, Kupu and Fy. Have you tried some of Maui's local alcohol and toured the facilities?
the Ocean Vodka family of products in my kitchen – support local!