Green Bee Craft Beverages was founded in the Brunswick, Maine family kitchen of beekeeper Chris Kinkade.
Kinkade had begun keeping bees as a way to make a difference in the plight of the honeybee. One day while visiting the supermarket, he wondered why there weren’t more natural alternatives to soda available. He went home and started tinkering, eventually creating the fizzy, honey-sweetened beverage that became the company’s flagship product.
We had the opportunity to interview Chris’ partner & wife, Lori Kinkade, about the family business and the future of Green Bee.
Why is honey the right ingredient for your products?
Honey is delicious! And, now we have a product we feel proud to serve our kids and feel good when other families do, too. We also love the idea of helping our economy by using local ingredients for our products.
How do you get inspiration for your beverage flavors?
Trial and error. We start with small batches. From playing around and trying different combinations, we see what works and what doesn’t. Often we begin by asking what’s in season or locally available. Junipers are prevalent in Maine, so we thought, “Let’s make a Juniper soda. How cool would that be!” We try to do things that haven’t been done before. It’s fun–that’s the exciting part.
Do you produce your own honey?
We work with other apiaries to procure honey. We started an initiative to put hives on local farms, which has been a big hit. Our goal is to eventually have our own apiary and have as many pollinators as possible.
What’s next for Green Bee?
We have a lot of things in the hopper. Expansion is next on the horizon–we would like to become available nationally. To support that goal, we plan to have manufacturing capabilities across the country, which will allow us to make an impact in regional agriculture. We started the “Seeds for Bees” program which is a project we promote to encourage people to plant wildflowers for bees. The more people who learn about our products, the better the chance that we may become available in their neighborhood.
Any takeaways for other honey enthusiasts?
For any entrepreneur, have faith in yourself and don’t give up. If you believe in it, you can make it happen.