Spirit Cruises January 2023 Leaderboard

The Philly Distiller Who Got Laid Off and Moved to Hawaii to Make Gin

by Jessie Donofrio on Jan 5, 2023 in Liquor

Olivia Babiec started her career in distilling at Fishtown’s Philadelphia Distilling as an intern while she was completing Drexel University’s hospitality management program. A native of Alexandria, VA, Olivia stayed in Philadelphia after she graduated and took an associate’s job with New Liberty Distilling before heading back to Philadelphia Distilling to become Assistant Distiller in 2017.

Under Distiller Aaron Selya, she learned all there was to know about producing gin – one of Philadelphia Distilling’s signature products. Unfortunately, like many in the industry, Olivia was laid off in June 2020 during the pandemic.

“I had reached out to just about every distillery in the Philadelphia and greater Philadelphia area, but ultimately, none of the distilleries were willing to give me a fair chance,” said Olivia. She decided on a whim to expand her job search all the way to Hawaii. She reached out to Ko'olau Distillerywhich was founded by disabled U.S. Marines who each served 20+ years in the military. She heard back right away and says, “the rest is history.”

Olivia spent over a year testing and trial-running recipes for the distillery’s first gin. The flavor profile she landed on is an American Dry style with some familiar notes from her Philly roots crossed with botanical and floral notes from the island. “It's something I am immensely proud of and a little nod of respect towards Bluecoat Gin, which is the first product I have ever distilled, and where I learned so much,” said the distiller. The gin, good for sipping or in cocktails, has a bright citrus taste with an orange forward flavor and finishes with the floral notes of the red hibiscus flower, sourced from the islands.

Tradewind Gin is named after the windward side of the island, Kailua, where the distillery is located. It is available to purchase in Hawaiian liquor stores as well as online for $39.99 with nationwide shipping (excluding AL, HI, MA, SD, UT). Ko'olau Distillery has also released a Barrel Aged version of the gin, available only for purchase to anyone lucky enough to visit the island. Tours of the distillery are available with the option to include a special tasting and bottle and can be booked on their website.


Ko'olau Distillery
905 Kapaa Quarry Pl Building 50 Unit 14, Kailua, HI 96734, (808) 261-0685

Hours:
Mon 10 AM - 5 PM
Tues 12 PM - 5 PM
Wed - Sat 10 AM - 5 PM
Sun 12 PM - 4 PM
 

Photos via Ko'olau Distillery 


Tags: Spirits
Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2024

Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2024

We've got your definitive list of where to drink outside in Philadelphia...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 9, 2024
Philadelphia Distilling Launching Secret Pop-Up Cocktail Garden for Earth Day, April 11-21

Philadelphia Distilling Launching Secret Pop-Up Cocktail Garden for Earth Day, April 11-21

Philadelphia Distilling is transforming their fourth floor space into a secret garden to celebrate Earth Day, ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 9, 2024
The Drink Nation Presents: The Home Bar Project

The Drink Nation Presents: The Home Bar Project

Have you ever dreamed of having an amazing home bar, filled with bottles you actually use and the tools you need to execute a fine crafted cocktail? E...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 14, 2014
SPONSORED
Spirit Cruises January 2023 Desktop Bottom Rectangle 1
Dizengoff: Inside Look at the New Reimagined Restaurant, Bar, & Cocktails

Dizengoff: Inside Look at the New Reimagined Restaurant, Bar, & Cocktails

Last year, Dizengoff and Abe Fisher decided to join forces and embark on an exciting new chapter. After closin...read more ›

by Drink Philly Mar 5, 2024
Behind the Bar: Tom Foy of Butcher Bar

Behind the Bar: Tom Foy of Butcher Bar

In this installment of Behind the Bar, we sit down with bartender Tom Foy of Butcher Bar...read more ›

by Drink Philly Feb 19, 2024
48 Record Bar: An Inside Look at an Audiophile's Listening Room & Cocktail Bar

48 Record Bar: An Inside Look at an Audiophile's Listening Room & Cocktail Bar

48 Record Bar is the newest addition to the growing Listening Room trend in Philadelphia...read more ›

by Drink Philly Feb 19, 2024
The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

In a city with new bar openings every week, it can be hard to keep up with the everchanging Philly cocktail landscape. Don't worry, we've got you cove...read more ›

by Drink Philly Dec 14, 2023
Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2023

Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2023

We've got your definitive list of where to drink outside in Philadelphia...read more ›

by Drink Philly May 27, 2023
Pamper Yourself at These Spas with Bars in Philadelphia

Pamper Yourself at These Spas with Bars in Philadelphia

Whether you're going solo or heading out with friends, we've got just the place for your to relax and enjoy a good drink...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Apr 5, 2023
The Best Mocktails, Zero Proof, & Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Philadelphia

The Best Mocktails, Zero Proof, & Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Philadelphia

Not drinking alcohol tonight? These bars and restaurants have you covered with inventive, thoughtful, and down...read more ›

by Michelle Cassidy Jan 11, 2023
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Home Bar Project Bottom Rectangle 2
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close