(BIVN) – The Leeward Planning Commission last week gave its approval for a micro-distillery project planned for Kona.
On April 18, the Kona Distilling Company went before the commission, seeking a Special Permit to allow the establishment of the micro-distillery, visitor’s center (including a tasting component) and related facilities on an approximately 7.5-acre portion of 70-acres of land in the State Land Use Agricultural District.
The parcel is located along Kuakini Highway, directly mauka of Kona Sea Villas.
According to the Planning Department, the micro-distillery expects to produce about 11,000 nine-liter cases per year to various markets both locally and abroad. Company representatives said that could include coffee-based liqueurs, or perhaps a rum produced from locally gown sugar.
Planners noted that the applicant “feels that the visitor’s center use would be consistent with the principles of agri-tourism and have become popular throughout the state, providing a business venture that is linked to agricultural crops grown on or off the subject parcel. It is the applicant’s objective to promote the ‘farm to bottle’ concept, while promoting local agricultural crops, education related to production of the distilled spirits, and providing a retail area for local products.”
The visitor center would be open 7 days a week by appointment from 9 a.m. to sunset.
A few residents of the Kona Sea Villas expressed concern over the potential impact of the project on local traffic patterns, and a failing rockwall situated in a flood plain area in need of repair.
The Leeward Planning Commission approved the permit request.