process for selling honey locally (sall-scale) ....?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Pitt, NC, USA
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    770

    Question process for selling honey locally (sall-scale) ....?

    Never thought I'd reach this point (after 3 years of, basically, no real honey harvest), but ..... can anybody give me an idea of what's involved in selling honey? A local person told me she'd be happy to stock her shop with bottles of my 2019 honey if I wanted. I'm sure there has to be labelling, but other than that? Some sort of State registration? I'm in NC. If I were to charge $10/bottle (maybe 20+ oz?), what would be a reasonable % amount for the shop-keeper to get?

    Plainly, I'm not a business head. Maybe selling the little plastic "honey bear" bottles would be more workable?

    I'd be much obliged for any info on this; are there websites that could be useful in getting the venture started? I wouldn't have a huge amount to sell (so far, 2.2 gallons, with maybe another 1.5 to come), but still ..... I don't need a ton, and I'm giving away some, and making mead with more. Still, that leaves lots to just collect dust in the house.

    Thx!

    Mitch
    Last edited by mlanden; 06-09-2019 at 07:17 PM. Reason: "small-scale", I meant, of course.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Williamsport, PA
    Posts
    435

    Default Re: process for selling honey locally (sall-scale) ....?

    It is very state dependent. Here in PA there are a ton of hoops to jump through (kitchen inspection, license, labeling) then after you do that you need to think about liability and insurance.

    I have a friend that runs a high-end brew pub. He has told me "I will buy all you can sell me". Problem for me is that I don't have enough product that when I do a cost/benefit analysis I come out on the good side yet.

    Growing every year and selling to friends and family to cover expenses. Next year may be the year it makes financial sense.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Powhatan, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    331

    Default Re: process for selling honey locally (sall-scale) ....?

    Go online to your state government site and search for the sales requirements. It is very state dependant. You need to follow your state labeling and processing requirements not federal labeling.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Pitt, NC, USA
    Posts
    770

    Default Re: process for selling honey locally (sall-scale) ....?

    Thx, guys; I figured there'd be the usual regs involved. I'll ask some local beeks too (maybe; I'm not sure if they like the idea of competition -- although where mine would sell wouldn't be in the same kind of place theirs would). Wanted to access the Forum 1st to get input from the experienced.....

    Mitch

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Ozark, AL
    Posts
    800

    Default Re: process for selling honey locally (sall-scale) ....?

    https://www.ncbeekeepers.org/resources/labeling

    Most current information on labeling honey for sale in NC.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
    Posts
    387

    Default Re: process for selling honey locally (sall-scale) ....?

    the label is the easy part. One of the hard parts is the connection with a store; sweet that you have gotten past that hurdle!

    Please take care that your honey is low enough in moisture that it will not ferment. Below 18.1%. You should invest in a honey-scaled refractometer to measure this. Just because honey is capped does not mean it was actually dehydrated enough. You don't want your label to be linked with fermented honey...

    And consider putting some information on a label sticker about crystallized honey - something about "when it crystallized, or hardens, the honey sugars have changed form, it is not spoiled or fermented. It is reversed with heat, place in very warm (110 degree) water for 2 hours to reverse the process. Or enjoy on bread or crackers!" Something like that.

    link for details on de-crystallizing: https://ashevillebeecharmer.com/hone...ize-raw-honey/

    link for details on honey moisture level and fermenting: https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...n-capped-honey and https://www.reddit.com/r/Beekeeping/..._you_think_it/

    I had honey that was probably 65% capped, which I placed in a small room with a space heater. I ran it for 12 hours, aiming for 90 degrees. The refrac said btwn 18-19% when I started it - and said 17-18% when I closed shop. Honey was in the singe super that I had.

    Another beek I know extracts, then places a bucket-warmer around a 5 gallon bucket. He leaves it at 90 degrees for a week. He gets moisture levels lower than 17%. https://www.thecarycompany.com/pail-...FQX34wcdCywCsg

    That's pricey - actually I think he made a honey warming cabinet. He's a woodworker.

    Anyways, some food for thought. Good luck!!!!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Litchfield, Ct, USA
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: process for selling honey locally (sall-scale) ....?

    I got about as much honey last year as you are expecting. Maybe a little less. People were offering me cash, but by the time I gave out my first year's honey free samples (excited to actually get honey), and have enough for myself, and then making mead I am far, far in a deficit at this point. A few gallons isn't even worth worrying about. I barely even had enough for the mead itself!

    Now I'm hoping to get at least as much honey this year as last, but it's not looking so hot. I wished I saved a couple of jars more...

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Shady Side, Maryland
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: process for selling honey locally (sall-scale) ....?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo3 View Post
    ... and have enough for myself, and then making mead I am far, far in a deficit at this point....
    Mead seems like such a waste of honey to me. Especially given that I've never had any that came close to being as good as even cheap beer.

    Save the honey and use it as honey. And buy good (or even so-so) beer. You'll be ahead.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Grand Blanc, MI
    Posts
    289

    Default Re: process for selling honey locally (sall-scale) ....?

    For me it's easier to just sell out of my house through word of mouth, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. No need to jump through all the hoops to be able to sell it in stores. Plus you can charge the full retail price and not have to discount it.

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