Maui Soda & Ice Works
Celebrating 135 years of business on Maui
|We always believed that our company, originally Maui Ice Works, was founded in 1888. While planning for the future of his family’s business, Maui Soda & Ice Works, Ltd. Chairman of the Board Michael Nobriga discovered something amazing about its past. “We’ve always believed that the company was started by Gilbert H. French in 1888. During research for the strategic plan we found a page from the book ‘Bottles of Old Hawai‘i’ that sets the origin of the company at 1884 and the original owners as Gibbens & Macauley.” Before what everyone believed was the company’s centennial in 1988, Nobriga had spent a year meticulously researching the history at the (then) Maui Community College library via microfiche. “I only focused on the French family that went back to 1888,” he says. “It never occurred to anyone that the company existed before French.” The Nobriga family has had a presence at the company since Grandpa Manuel Nobriga starting working there in 1922. Twenty-four years later, the Nobriga family purchased the company and has been the owner/operator of Maui Soda & Ice Works, Ltd. ever since. What started as an ice and refrigeration company has evolved into one of Hawai’i’s most successful small businesses. Soft drink distribution was added in the 1920s; Coca-Cola® was actually bottled at the Wailuku facility from 1924 to 1988. Ice cream production began in 1932; the brand name Roselani was introduced in 1972. Today, Maui Soda & Ice Works is comprised of three divisions – “ready-to-drink,” foodservice beverage products, and frozen products which includes, of course, the popular Roselani Ice Cream brand. In its 125th anniversary year, Maui Soda & Ice Works enjoyed gross revenues of more than $22 million. As patriarch David “Buddy” Nobriga always said, “Family, business, community service are our core values.” And they will lead Maui Soda & Ice Works proudly ahead for many decades to come.|
About the Nobrigas
Michael Nobriga’s Maui roots reach deep. Born and raised in Wailuku, he represents the fifth generation of Nobrigas to live on Maui, the third born here. A graduate of St. Anthony Grade & High Schools and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology in 1975.