MAKAWAO - For its dark rum, Haleakala Distillers has introduced a refillable bottle.
Not recyclable, refillable.
"It's a way of life in Jamaica," said master distiller Jim "Kimo" Sargent, but as far as he knows, no other distiller is doing it in America.
"It's a very efficient way of packaging spirits," he said, at least for big sellers such as resorts.
Refillable glass deposit bottles used to be the rule for sodas and spring water, but aluminum and plastic bottles drove them out.
Sargent said they are "better than recycling," particularly on an island.
He ordered some extra-heavy bottles from California and had his label silk-screened onto them.
Sargent wasn't sure how many refills he would get, and now, after a year, he isn't sure when the bottles will ever be junked. So far, the labels are holding up well and breakage is minimal.
He refunds a small deposit on each return, and he said only slight training has been needed to get bartenders used to saving the Haleakala rum bottles instead of tossing them out.
* Harry Eagar can be reached at email@example.com.