From the city's first meadery to a luxe beauty line, Chicago's honey scene is suddenly buzzing.
Sweet on Chicago: Local companies are embracing the honey trend with everything from beekeeping classes to beauty products and more.
Forget agave—the sweetest new trend in Chicago is honey, and three businesses in particular are helping locals get a taste. Taking a cue from Chicago’s booming beer scene, Wild Blossom Meadery & Winery (9030 S. Hermitage Ave., 773-233-7579) specializes in handcrafted mead, aka honey wine. “People [try mead] and are like, ‘Wow, what was I missing?’” says owner Greg Fischer, who compares the flavor to cider and who brews more than 20 variations of the stuff, from cranberry to hot chili pepper. Fischer’s new tasting room in Beverly also includes a whopping 14,000-square-foot patio, set to open in June.
“Chicago has some of the finest nectar sources in the world,” says Sydney Barton, operations manager for Chicago Honey Co-op (2000 W. Carroll Ave., 312-508-8142), which gives locals hands-on experience with beekeeping and beehive maintenance. From late July to early October, Chicagoans can sample the co-op’s own honey at destinations like Green City Market and the Logan Square farmers market.
In the beauty realm, Sweet Beginnings (a North Lawndale nonprofit that helps former offenders transition back into society) now crafts a honey-infused skincare line, beelove, with products like triple-butter lip balm and Nourish & Smooth body cream. Why honey? Says executive director and CEO Brenda Palms Barber, “As a natural emulsifier, honey keeps even the roughest skin moisturized—and it never spoils.”