Friends of ours have a honey-wine shop in the town of Okotoks, just a few minutes south of Calgary. They make their own mead from their own honey. They do it really well. Art retired from flying commercial airliners to spend time with his bees. He and Cherie built a store to sell their honey products – the wine making business just sort of happened. Now they produce thousands of bottles of internationally acclaimed award-winning mead.
You can jump over to Chinook Honey’s web site and see their business up-close. I’m not going to write a lot about their outfit got started and grew – you can read about that on their website. As far as the products go, I was at their shop yesterday and I figure a few of the pictures I took could do the talking for me.
Honey wine (mead) is basically honey, water, and yeast. But it’s not easy. Making mead takes an incredible amount of care and hard work. Extra ingredients like saskatoon berries, cherries, and spices make the specialty flavours. Here is part of the sales room display.
I had a peak in the back room where the wines do their wining. Here’s the master, Art.
More great wine. Everything is done right here – honey making and extracting, wine making and bottling. It’s a fascinating business.
Chinook Honey, of course makes and markets honey, too. They sell all sorts (including raw honey still in the comb) along with health products like lip balm and supplements like pollen, propolis, and royal jelly. Here’s some pure Canadian honey. I can’t take credit for this picture – I’m not that good a photographer!
If you are running a small honey business and are looking at expansion ideas, consider the retail store and meadery model. Be warned – it’s a lot of work. But it seems like an interesting business. Especially if you’re the sort who likes to wine a bit.