Mutiny breadfruit vodka. Photo courtesy of UH

A priority of the University of Hawaiʻi’s Pacific Business Center Program is expanding awareness of the economic and health benefits of breadfruit. The program’s director was excited upon hearing of a new spirit that is gaining popularity: breadfruit vodka.

The center’s Pacific Regional Breadfruit Initiative, to advance the processing, refinement and export of ʻulu (breadfruit), won a top award from the University Economic Development Association in 2014, according to a recent UH news release.

PCBP Director Failautusi Avegalio says he was thrilled when a chef from the Virgin Islands recently presented him with a new breadfruit product — a vodka named Mutiny.

According to Avegalio, demand for the nascent liquor along the U.S. eastern seaboard is up to 70,000 bottles. He says new dehydration technology in American Samoa is also consistently producing quality breadfruit flour, which is gluten-free and has a low glycemic index.

“Commercialization of ʻulu on an industrial scale for export has not occurred anywhere in the world yet,” Avegalio said. “With collaborative opportunities to build upon between the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa, which will expand to the greater Caribbean and Pacific, regional to global industries are only a matter of time and investment.”