Northumberland Honey Co.
We are young bee farmers in Northumberland. We produce all our own honey from our own bees.
Luke and Suzie met whilst Suzie was doing a PhD, Luke took Suzie on a date which involved moving beehives to the Heather moors for the autumn ‘honey flow’, Suzie quickly became hooked on the bees as well.
We established Northumberland Honey Co. in 2015 and look after in the region of 150-200 colonies (individual hives) of bees, throughout Northumberland.
From the bees hard won honey an idea was born, to make this honey into Northumberland’s answer to Champagne! We always had a passion for Champagne in it’s own right, but also produced around 5-6 tonnes of honey per year, so had to think outside the box to grow the company and thought, what about honey and champagne?
Development of sparkling mead commenced, following many many trial batches, research and development.
Luke and Suzie spent time in Champagne learning the champagne method but also travelled to the USA, where mead is very popular and meaderies a plenty, to learn about making mead on a commercial scale.
There is another commercial producer, but in the USA, and no one else in the UK. On a trip to the USA on our honeymoon we were assisted in growing our enthusiasm for this fantastic new product. So essentially to find another Champagne Method Sparkling Mead the people of Northumberland and the UK would have to travel all the way to the USA, when it is now right on their doorstep!
Sustainability wise Sparkling Mead is the most sustainable sparkling alcoholic beverage to be had especially when compared to wine produced from grapes, which often involves large scale agricultural type practices, pesticides, and intensive use of the land. Sparkling Mead is produced purely from our own honey produced in Northumberland within a local radius to our meadery, when extracting the honey we always leave the bees with at least 20-30kg of honey which is more than sufficient for the bees own needs, (note honey bees are the only bees that naturally produce honey to an excess) the extarcting process involves reclaiming the wax from the honey comb, which is then exchanged for new wax templates that the bees work, so there is literally no waste in this at all.
Health benefits with mead are huge too. Not only in ancient times was it said to promote heatlh, fertility and prosperity, (in fact the word honeymoon comes from mead, which was given to newly wed couples for a ‘whole moon’ to assist in their health fertility and prosperity) but in modern times our new modern version is very low in sugars (approx 5g per litre) compared to alot of proseccos and champagnes on the market that sit at around 50g per litre. We also do not add any artificial tannins, so you can be assured of a higher likelyhood of a clear head the next day (obviously dependent on how much is consumed!)
Wildflower Sparkling Mead was launched in November 2016, since this time the 2016 Vintage Sparkling Mead has found it’s way into some of the worlds finest restaurants, michelin star restaurants and hotels, including the Black Swan Oldstead, The Cellar Fife, and The Forest Side Cumbria and locally The Battlesteads at Wark.
In 2017 two new Sparkling Meads were launched in the Heather and Rosé varieties which have also been very well received.
Luke and Suzie still have a strong ethos for the sustainability of the honeybee.
“Without the bees we are nothing” Luke and Suzie always comment, and this reflects the ethos of Northumberland Honey Co, to always breed and keep bees, with the overall aim of increasing the honey bee population in Northumberland. We are one of a handful of people in the country who can artificially inseminate queen bees, and with this we have dramatically increased the bees survivability overwinter, increased diseases resistance, and of course the bees work ethic for gathering honey! Northumberland Honey Co, truely do everything from Bees To Bottle.