Buzz, Clink and Sip: Honey Spirits Summit

Posted October 27, 2022 by Jasmyne Harris

Many distillers are “honey curious” but don’t know where to start when it comes to distilling with honey. That’s where we come in! The National Honey Board hosted over 30 distillers from across the country to educate their minds and palates about honey, honey bees and spirits made with honey. 

To kick off the summit, we headed to Still Austin Whiskey Co. for our opening reception night for attendees to unwind, relax and tour the distillery. They learned about Still Austin’s “grain to glass” method of distillation and how they create a smooth, sippin’ spirit. Their Cask Strength Bourbon makes for a great cocktail or a classic neat pour. Distillers toasted the night with a signature Still Austin cocktail of their choice. Some opted for the Catcher in the Rye cocktail with the host’s Rye Whiskey or the Gold Rush with Straight Bourbon or the Bee’s Knees with gin, honey and lemon. You can take a guess at which cocktail sweetened the deal for most.

Hopefully the distillers didn’t party too hard because we were up bright and early to talk about honey bees and spirits. Sessions began with our Bee to Bottle presentation and sampled some of our favorite spirits from Caledonia Spirits. You can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning, right? Keith detailed the history of bees and  how the sweet nectar forms into what we know as honey. Of course we had to sample honey as well! The orange blossom honey had a familiar sweet taste while the buckwheat honey woke everyone up with its earthy and robust flavor profile. 

As the day rolled on, distillers were able to listen and understand the trends within spirits and how honey spirits can capitalize on what consumers are looking for. Ready-to-drink cocktails are no surprise to the market. Cracking open a cold cocktail, that takes no effort to make, has been hot (but really, cold) on the shelves and we continue to see a rise in this trend. Attendees sipped more spirits and sampled more honey. Alison sweetened everyone’s palates with the champagne of honeys, tupelo, and threw a curveball of something funky with avocado honey. 

It wasn’t all work and no play. We shuttled attendees to Jester King Brewery where we roamed the endless farmland to see goats and explore the beauty of rural Austin. Yes, I said goats! The four-legged friends drew to the attendees and a wave of relaxation took over. We ate and played and learned so much about the land. Special thanks to Revolution Spirits for serving cocktails for us to let loose!

To wrap up our two-day crash course for the Honey Spirits Summit, we had to stop and see the bees! Tara at Two Hives Honey graciously let attendees tour the apiary (aka bee farm). Did you know that in a honey bee’s lifetime, it makes only one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey? Honey bees are so important to our ecosystem and we truly need them to survive. Two Hives Honey is a great place to learn about bees and agriculture.

Bees are amazing, and honey is an incredible substance. We’re honored we get to educate distillers on honey bees and the use of honey as a distillate. We look forward to many new ones made with honey spirits and can’t wait to educate more distillers! If you’re #honeycurious, give us a shout and we would love to tell you about our little friends, honey bees.

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