Rolls-Royce's Honey Production Is Still Booming, Even While Auto Plants Are Shut Down
The luxury car company has housed an active apiary at its headquarters since 2017.
What would you consider the Rolls-Royce of honeys? Maybe you prefer for your honey to be monofloral? Perhaps you’ve been turned on to Melipona honey from Mexico? Or maybe “the Rolls-Royce of honey” is simply the honey made by Rolls-Royce? Yes, the car company produces its own honey—and while the coronavirus pandemic has brought car production to a standstill, honey production is actually booming.
Yesterday, Rolls-Royce announced that the car brand’s “250,000-strong workforce” of bees is on pace to exceed their volume targets for 2020 at Goodwood Apiary—the hives named after the company’s West Sussex headquarters. Established in 2017, this worksite is comprised of “six traditional, English-crafted, wooden beehives, each bearing a polished stainless steel nameplate handcrafted in the company’s Bespoke Workshop.”
The car marker explains, “Having come through the winter in excellent health, Rolls-Royce’s English Honey Bees are currently emerging from their hives and foraging on the half-a-million trees, shrubs and wildflowers flourishing across the 42-acre Rolls‑Royce site, plus the eight acres of sedum plants growing on the manufacturing plant’s 'living roof'—the largest of its kind in the UK. The more adventurous bees make sorties into the surrounding Goodwood Estate, whose 12,000 acres of West Sussex countryside are among the glories of the South Downs National Park.”
Sure, it sounds possible that these bees have better lives than most of us do, but it’s for a good cause: The project supports the Bee Lines campaign—launched with the hope of reversing the decline of bees in South East England. And Rolls-Royce is far from the only major brand that’s been actively supporting bee populations. McDonald’s in Sweden created a tiny McDonald’s restaurant for bees called the McHive. And last year, Papa John’s in the U.K. launched a tiny, insect-friendly “Beezza” to raise funds to support British bees.
“The Apiary further underlines our commitment to the environment, which informs everything we do at Goodwood,” Richard Carter, Director of Global Communications at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said in the announcement. “Our sustainable buildings, thermal ponds, rainwater management systems and wildfowl refuge have already made the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood one of the UK’s most eco-friendly manufacturing facilities. Through this project, which taps into the biodiversity of our site, including our huge living roof, we’re making an important contribution to conserving Britain’s vital bee population.”
As for the honey itself, Rolls-Royce says that once the bees’ work is done, it’s “meticulously hand‑processed by local specialists.” But scoring a taste won’t be easy. The company explains that Rolls-Royce honey is “served to guests of the marque, including customers commissioning their motor cars in the company’s Atelier suite.” So all I have to do is spend at least $300,000 on a car and I can get a taste of luxury-made honey? I guess I'll just stick to the stuff that comes out of a plastic bear for now.