We are 4th generation beekeepers with a few hundred beehives in the Muskoka region, located in central Ontario, Canada. Our wildflower honey has been enjoyed by thousands of customers for many years. However, we have never been able to manufacture and sell Honey Wine or Mead. Until now. In July, 2019, we received our Federal Manufacturing Licence for Honey Wine! This expansion is the realization of our plan to take our business, Muskoka Honey Bee Products Inc., to the next level - offering high quality, small batch bottled honey wine and carbonated canned session mead for sale to the public. We already have a waiting list of local restaurants, bars, and farmers market customers wanting to purchase our products.
So why a Kickstarter campaign? We have enough funds and skills to convert two shipping containers into a manufacturing area with a wine aging space, tasting area, climate controlled interior, and welcoming exterior.
However, what we are not able to completely afford at this point is the wine making system. That is why we are looking to raise $25,000 of the $35,000 price to purchase a full winery system that will quickly jump start the manufacturing and fermentation process of our honey wine and mead within a few days of installation. The winery system is ready to go once installed by the company, WE Winery Equipment in Aurora, Ontario. With their help, we will be up and running within a week of installation.
Opening a meadery/winery is not just about us. It's about expanding a business that will then create employment in our region. Once established, we will be recruiting an additional full-time, year round mead maker, and several meadery workers to complete the wine and mead making cycle - from fermentation and bottling, to labelling, storage, and shipping.
Our expansion will also allow us to hire and train a new generation of beekeepers! We will require at least two to four beekeepers to help us through the incredibly busy summer season of our apiary. We are also planning to apply for the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Summer Job Initiative to create well-paying summer student positions that will provide great on-the-job experience and teach the skills needed for future beekeepers.
It is our hope and wish that our daughters, the 5th generation in our beekeeping family, will have a viable business to continue our long history of caring for honey bees in Muskoka.
If you are in our area, stop by and have a chat with us about our project - we can be found at several local farmers markets and at our location in Dwight. We are always happy to talk about honey bees and mead!
Risks and challenges
Although we have met with our local township to get approval to build our meadery where we live (a commercially zoned property), there is always the risk that the township will not approve, or will change requirements of, certain aspects of our building to meet our goal of beginning production in Spring 2020. We will continue to work with the township in this regard.
Beekeeping depends on the perfect mix of rain, sun, temperature, water, and hive maintenance. We can control the water and maintenance, we cannot control Mother Nature - we are dependent on wildflowers that are located on the old homestead properties where are hives are located.
Alcohol manufacturing licences, storage licences, transportation licences, etc. are all dependent on the Federal Government of Canada, and the Ontario Provincial Government. We will ensure that all of our licences are current and renewed accordingly; however, there is always the possibility that licence requirements may change or will not be renewed for any reason that the government body deems necessary. We will continue to work with our government agencies.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter