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Honey based spirits


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#1 bluestar

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 08:18 AM

Who else out there is making a honey-based spirit? Not honey flavored, but distilled from fermented honey? I am aware of Rumble from Balcones as an aged rum-like product, and Bee Vodka from Marsh and Comb Vodka from Still-the-One in the neutral spirits category. Others? We hope to launch our own products in this category at the end of the year.

I am also using the post to test the new forum, but I am seriously interested in comparing notes on working with honey-based ferment for distilled spirits.

#2 gabericharde

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 05:19 PM

I know this is a cold post, but if you're still interested in pure honey as a base you should check out Barr Hill out of Vermont. I had some of their cold fermented honey vodka while I was in New England this winter. Yum.

#3 atyourservicegal

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 05:21 PM

Hello there,

I am an ingredient supplier and would love to help you source any Honey product you are looking for? I have numberous suppliers for organic and conventional with all varities available. Please contact me at dena@foodguys.com or 503-404-0250.

#4 rhynorange

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 11:01 AM

We use honey to make vodka and we've been experimenting with using it as a base for some other products. We also add honey to flavor our gin and elderberry cordial. Honey is essentially the foundation of our distillery. I'd love to hear what sort of honey spirits you're working with.

-Ryan
Caledonia Spirits

#5 bluestar

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 08:30 AM

We use honey to make vodka and we've been experimenting with using it as a base for some other products. We also add honey to flavor our gin and elderberry cordial. Honey is essentially the foundation of our distillery. I'd love to hear what sort of honey spirits you're working with.
-Ryan
Caledonia Spirits


Hi, Ryan. Well, we are reasonably underway with some of our honey-based or augmented spirits. In addition to a base "eau de vie" or "rum" or pure honey spirit (truly we are trying to determine what to call it for a final label), we are working on using this base for an absinthe and a gin. We also are making eau de vie or brandy from melomels, wines of fruit and honey. We just finished distilling a very rare and expensive example made from wild-gathered American persimmons. It is lovely, unique flavor profile for an eau de vie, perhaps closest to quince, but with definite tannic overtones you would normally get from a grape. The only bad part about it is the expense, and we will probably have to sell 375ml exclusively out of the distillery for over $45 to ensure we recover costs.

#6 stevea

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:02 PM

With stories like this in abundance .... I think it would be good marketing to advertise the source of the honey.

I'm no health nut, but it seems a good working assumption that 3rd world honey is at least tainted and possibly fake.
If you don't know the provenance you don't know what you are fermenting.

Much of the honey made in China isn’t honey at all, Schneider reports:


Another favorite con among Chinese brokers was to mix sugar water, malt sweeteners, corn or rice syrup, jaggery, barley malt sweetener or other additives with a bit of actual honey. In recent years, many shippers have eliminated the honey completely and just use thickened, colored, natural or chemical sweeteners labeled as honey.



http://healthland.ti...-store-shelves/

#7 bluestar

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 09:22 AM

With stories like this in abundance .... I think it would be good marketing to advertise the source of the honey.
I'm no health nut, but it seems a good working assumption that 3rd world honey is at least tainted and possibly fake.
If you don't know the provenance you don't know what you are fermenting.


And we do. The final label for Prairie Sunshine TM had "Wildflower Honey Spirit" as the fanciful name, and our back label text specifically points out that we use wildflower honey gathered from Marengo, IL, in our local region. We are all about provenance for our products. We are working now on bringing out Prairie Moonshine, which is a "Corn and Honey Spirit" inspired by corn and sugar 'shines. Again, local wildflower honey with locally produced and stone milled organic corn.

#8 Jake Holshue

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 01:51 PM

One of the distilleries here in Montana (woo!) makes a honey based spirit. Swanson's Mountain View Distillery makes what they call Legendary Gold Honey Spirits.

#9 bluestar

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 02:40 PM

Our Prairie Sunshine™ wildflower honey spirit just went into distribution in Chicagoland with Fresh Coast Distributors. This is going to be a bit of a challenge, because each batch varies somewhat in flavor and nose depending on the honey harvested. We note that on the label, and we number each batch. The plan is to provide tasting notes on our web site for each batch in the future. I've been aware of Luke's honey spirits from Swanson's, but haven't tried it. We haven't tried aging it yet, haven't been able to make enough. But with used bourbon barrels becoming available, I think we will give it a go later this year.



#10 mission5

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 01:22 PM

I know this is an old post but wonder if anyone had thoughts on whether or not for COLA purposes you could designate distilled Honey Wine/Mead as either Honey Brandy or Honey Eau De Vie? Double distilled to around 150 proof, so not a neutral.   I know there is a specific designation for Honey Wine under Title 27 CFR 24.203.



#11 JarHead

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 09:13 AM

Been down that road.  No you cant.  It gets classified as a specialty.  Just come up with a creative fanciful name and market it as a brandy.  



#12 mission5

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 04:29 PM

Thanks JarHead,  In your experience can you even put the word "Brandy" on the label.  Maybe I call it "Calishine Honey Brandy"?  Trying to work within the California ABC laws,  Have a winegrowers license which allows for the direct sell to consumers of wine and brandy through the tasting room. We are good on producing mead and selling as wine, but would also like to make a "Brandy" from the honey as well.  There is not a true definition of "Brandy" at the CA state level. Thinking I might run afoul if I can't use the word "Brandy" on the label, and then try and sell direct consumer from tasting room.  If only Cali would catch up with the other states on allowing direct to consumer sales! 



#13 Rmorenc

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 10:29 AM

Where do you even get honey at the volume you'd need to make it in commercial capacities?

#14 bluestar

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 11:05 AM

Thanks JarHead,  In your experience can you even put the word "Brandy" on the label.  Maybe I call it "Calishine Honey Brandy"?  Trying to work within the California ABC laws,  Have a winegrowers license which allows for the direct sell to consumers of wine and brandy through the tasting room. We are good on producing mead and selling as wine, but would also like to make a "Brandy" from the honey as well.  There is not a true definition of "Brandy" at the CA state level. Thinking I might run afoul if I can't use the word "Brandy" on the label, and then try and sell direct consumer from tasting room.  If only Cali would catch up with the other states on allowing direct to consumer sales! 

 

DEFINITELY NOT. Brandy can only be used for a fruit wine (check 27 CFR). It is a specialty, any way you label it. I suggest you call it what we do, "honey spirit", since it is very unambiguous.

 

By the way, you can't add honey to the fermentation of a fruit wine and then call the distillate brandy or eau de vie, either. (Again, check 27 CFR). We use simple terms, like "Persimmon & Honey Spirit" or such. You might try the phrase "Distilled Mead", we didn't, but they might accept that. Our customers tend to end up calling it that often.



#15 bluestar

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 11:06 AM

Hello there,

I am an ingredient supplier and would love to help you source any Honey product you are looking for? I have numberous suppliers for organic and conventional with all varities available. Please contact me at dena@foodguys.com or 503-404-0250.

 

Only if you can get honey from regional wildflowers (for us, that would be Illinois, although we might consider Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, or Iowa).



#16 bluestar

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 11:07 AM

Where do you even get honey at the volume you'd need to make it in commercial capacities?

 

It depends what you mean by commercial. We are a very small distillery, and we make very small batches of the honey spirits. But indeed, we are honey supply constrained, since we only use local or regional wildflower honeys.



#17 mission5

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 04:39 PM

Thanks bluestar - after reading 27 CFR, forward, backwards, sideways and upside down, seems like I won't be able to sell a honey distilled spirit direct to consumer here in CA without the brandy label. Will just have to wait for CA laws to catch up.



#18 bluestar

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 10:51 AM

Thanks bluestar - after reading 27 CFR, forward, backwards, sideways and upside down, seems like I won't be able to sell a honey distilled spirit direct to consumer here in CA without the brandy label. Will just have to wait for CA laws to catch up.

What is preventing you in the CA law? I thought the limitation is that it had to be an agricultural product, not limited to a brandy?



#19 mission5

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 10:32 PM

Only brandy can be sold directly to consumer, any other distilled products must be sold through 3 tier system. There are two licenses a wine grower license and a brandy manufacturers license, both allow for the direct sale to consumers of brandy. No brainer, and currently being done, neutral brandy and botanical brandy distilled from grapes for example, Looking to differentiate with distilled based product from honey wine/mead. This is only to allow for direct sales thru on premise tasting room. CA ABC says if it's labeled brandy can sell direct. So seems like I'm caught in the Federal / State rule crosshairs.

#20 bluestar

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 08:29 AM

Only brandy can be sold directly to consumer, any other distilled products must be sold through 3 tier system. There are two licenses a wine grower license and a brandy manufacturers license, both allow for the direct sale to consumers of brandy. No brainer, and currently being done, neutral brandy and botanical brandy distilled from grapes for example, Looking to differentiate with distilled based product from honey wine/mead. This is only to allow for direct sales thru on premise tasting room. CA ABC says if it's labeled brandy can sell direct. So seems like I'm caught in the Federal / State rule crosshairs.

I see. Well, no, the state is clear, they want grape and fruit products, wine or distilled brandy, to be given a special consideration, probably to promote the growers. Distilled honey spirit is NOT a brandy, not only legally, but in the resulting product. It is much more like a rum, or even tequila, depending on the sugars in the nectar the bees used to make the honey. I guess you could lobby to have the law changed to include honey specifically, but since honey generally is in short enough supply, there may not be a strong economic impetus in the state, like their might be for grape.






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