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Making The Product, Now That We've Sold It

One Startup. No Secrets. Start at the beginning

By the end of day 30, we have—with very little effort—a full batch of orders ready to be filled and shipped out. Which means it’s time to stop testing and time to start making the recipe in bulk. Easier said than done.

Translating a recipe from small batches to large is always a delicate process because ingredients don’t necessarily increase in tandem. I decided to play it safe and used a little less chili than I thought I would need; it’s always easier to add heat, it’s almost impossible to subtract.

Bees Knees Spicy Honey Production

Streaming the honey out of the bucket and into my pot was one of the most joyful moments so far. It was so dark and viscous and the sweet smell invigorated me. I chopped up the peppers, gave the pot a stir, and got it going on a low heat. Our honey is infused low and slow, never over 100° F, to protect the natural properties inherent in raw honey.

Bees Knees Spicy Honey Bottles

Much has been said about honey’s health benefits, but I’ll say it again: honey is a miracle food. A healthy energy booster, an immunity builder, and a natural way to treat everything from a sore throat to seasonal allergies to dandruff. The water molecules in raw honey are almost entirely connected to the sugar content, which makes it virtually impossible for microorganisms to grow in the honey and added to that, the high acidity (usually somewhere between 3.2 and 4.5) makes it inhospitable to bacteria. Nutritionally, it contains glucose and fructose and a range of minerals including magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, and phosphate and can be a source of B and C vitamins. It is a potent phenomenon and deserves to be handled with care.

Bees Knees Spicy Honey Bottling

But back to my pot of stress: the first batch didn’t work. In playing it safe, I ended up with a product that was bland and unexceptional. I tasted a hundred times, but I knew that the honey just wasn’t where I needed it to be. Still, it was better to work my way up with the heat rather than end up with a ton of unusable product. An added load of chilies and a few more hours of stress and I was back in business. With the new balance of spice, it was complex and steady and hit all the areas of the mouth. Exactly the effect we were hoping for with this combination of peppers.

I strained the honey into the bucket and let it sit overnight. Honey will naturally push foreign objects like chili seeds, wax, and even oxygen bubbles to the surface, so it’s always best to let it sit and skim the top in the morning.

Bees Knees Spicy Honey

Bottling was a faster and easier process than I expected. During our immersive education in the Hudson Valley, Jorik supplied us with a bucket and spigot (honey gate) specifically for bottling. It’s amazing how gravity and the viscosity of the honey can be manipulated to make a fine stream or a wild glug. I was slow at first, but gained momentum. Sitting in the early sunlight, flowing the fragrant honey into the bottles, was so peaceful and calming. Honey is a good way to start the day.

Bees Knees Spicy Honey

So later that morning, after I printed the shipping labels and assembled the boxes, I placed our first honey bottle on a bed of tissue paper and sent it out. I sent Morgen a picture and we agreed it was an exciting and proud moment. From concept to launch in 30 days and here we were. We did it. But really, we've just begun.

We'd love to hear what you think of our journey thus far, comment to let us know.

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