How Our Honey is Made

As they say, "it's been a long, strange, trip."  Liam and I first met as teenagers in Richmond, Virginia and found ourselves in Charleston, SC for our college years.  During college, we lived in a house in downtown Charleston that was filled with friends constantly trying their hands at new and interesting hobbies.   The house we lived in, an old, Civil War-era home with three stories, was situated next to a church and an open, undeveloped lot.  It was the perfect place to establish our very first backyard apiary and small produce garden.

Our first small apiary consisted of two hives and we gave most of the honey away to friends and family, but we made our very first sales to some local Charleston restaurants.  The bees became a constant in our lives, and we were fascinated by the endless toiling of the worker bees and the incredible honey they produced.

Several years after graduation, Liam and I returned to the bees that had fascinated us so much during our college years and founded Apis Mercantile with the goal of educating the public about the incredible spectrum of flavors that can be found in the honey world and a commitment to sustainable and ethical sourcing practices.  We're thrilled to be partnered with so many wonderfully talented beekeepers and to be able to share their labor of love with all of you.  

It truly takes a hive. Thank you for being part of ours.

Bee well,

John Berdux
Apis Mercantile Co-Founder

It all started with a small backyard apiary

During college, Liam and I started our first small apiary in the backyard of our Charleston, SC home. The first two hives sparked a fascination with bees and honey that has lasted ever since. Our appreciation for Apis mellifera, our company namesake, is the foundation of our company and serves as the inspiration behind every product.

We use only the good stuff

Today, we partner with small apiaries all over the Southeast to source the best and most unique honey varietals available in our region. Partnering with multiple small apiaries provides us with a dependable supply chain of quality honey that meets our very high standards. By acting as a reputable and consistent buyer, we’re also able to positively impact the communities of our partner-beekeepers. As the community becomes more confident in a stable honey commodity market, more and more individuals get involved in beekeeping. This practice of partnering with small-scale apiaries is a win-win for Apis Mercantile, communities all over our region, and the honeybees that benefit from sustainable beekeeping practices.

Extracting honey from the bee hives

When the frames of honeycomb are fully capped, the honey in the cells is ready for extraction and bottling. At this time, the beekeeper will remove the supers or bee boxes from the hive. The honey extraction process is done in a ‘honey house’ and involves uncapping the honeycomb cells to expose the cells full of honey and then spinning the frames in a honey spinner or extractor. The centrifugal force will shoot the honey out of the frame where it will drip down into a collection reservoir. After all of the honey has been totally removed from the frames, it is put into 55 gallon steel drums or 5 gallon buckets for transportation to our bottling facility in Charleston, SC.

It’s time to bottle

When the honey arrives at our bottling facility, it is gently warmed so that it freely flows through our pumps and filters while preserving the natural enzymes and qualities that might otherwise be adversely affected by high-temperatures. After the honey has been pumped from the drums into our stainless steel bottling tanks, the honey is hand-bottled and capped, labeled, and sent through a series of quality checks.

Sending the sweet stuff your way

When you order from us, you’re ordering from real people. Each bottle of Apis Mercantile honey is bottled by hand in our facility in Charleston, SC. The honey that fills each bottle is the result of thousands of labor hours of both the honeybees and the artisan beekeepers that tend the hives in each of our partnered-apiaries. Beekeepers are true artists, and we are proud to partner with so many small apiaries in communities all over Southeastern United States. It truly takes a hive. Thanks for being part of ours.

We do not believe in making a profit at any price and we do not view our relationships as a zero-sum game.  Around the office we have a saying: "All ships rise at high tide."  We want to operate in a way that is honest, open, accountable, and focused on the well-being of the members of our community and larger supply chain.

Traditionally, big honey companies work with food brokers and middle-men in order to secure a stable supply chain of and a dependable source of honey. This sourcing method often overlooks quality and sustainability in the name of a reliable supply chain. This method means the beekeeper has little to no agency or control over the price they receive, or the quality of the final product. This method puts profit over people.

By cutting out all of the middle men and working directly with beekeepers, we hugely increase the amount of money we can pay our partnered apiaries. It means we are able to work with much smaller apiaries who in a traditional model would have lacked the capital or resources to export or scale. This means more of the money stays with our partnered beekeepers and in their communities. Our focus is and always will be on quality, sustainability, and positively impacting the world around us.

Shop our selection of regional wildflower honey, single-varietal or mono-floral, hot honey, and fermented garlic honey!