Hive to Hand: Hive₂O creates a new beverage category: The Hard Honey Taste Experience

By Anita David

Welcome to the tantalizing world of Hive₂O, where honey takes center stage in a new beverage category that promises a Hard Honey Taste Experience like no other. Hive₂O is revolutionizing the industry with its commitment to pure, sustainable ingredients and a taste that appeals to all palates. With a history of success in the functional beverage space, the founder of Hive₂O returns to change the perception that compromising on quality is necessary to be successful in the Ready to Drink (RTD) space. We had a chance to sit down with David Bee, the visionary founder and CEO of Hive₂O, who has returned to the beverage business with a mission to redefine taste, quality, and sustainability. Join us as we explore the inspiration behind Hive₂O, the challenges of the beverage market, and the remarkable journey that led to the creation of these exquisite beverages.

I read that you once had a very successful beverage business years ago. What made you decide to go into the beverage business again? 

I’ve learned a great deal about the market and discovered that healthy ingredients and great tasting products are still difficult to find. I wanted to change the perception that you could not produce a successful beverage that is pure in nature, uses sustainable ingredients and appeals to all taste-buds.  Not all beverages are created equal and you cannot cut corners if you want to create something amazing. Aside from rigorous research, we did testing and more testing and realized that to achieve preeminence, we had to go back to basics; Simple, Clean and Pure ingredients. I like to call this a 20 year overnight success!

Why did you get into the beverage market again knowing how competitive it was?

Because not much has changed in 20 years and I felt the need to re-enter the stagnating Beverage market and deliver the best tasting drink experience in a can. The one thing that has changed over time is people’s desire to consume RTD’s (Ready-To-Drink). With the stagnation in innovation and the market not demanding something better, we can become conditioned to have lower standards. This is something I like to call “palate bending”, which essentially means, we as consumers lower our expectations of what our taste buds actually enjoy vs. what we will accept. Creating a beverage that appeals to varying taste sensitivities can be challenging but not impossible. Our journey began by finding the best ingredients and creating epic flavor experiences for every type of consumer. There are really only 2 types of palates, a hard & soft palate that essentially decides for us what we like or dislike. Then it comes down to taste perception and a variety of 4-5 different individual preferences. The R&D that went into Hive₂O is about delivering a sensory experience of taste for everyone, instead of creating different flavors that have been repeated over and over again. Our flavor profiles are influenced by smell, texture, ingredients and taste. We under-carbonate so the flavors are not overtaken by bubbles to achieve effervescence with a beginning, middle and end of the taste waterfall. This ensures a sensory experience by contributing to the mouthfeel and taste perception of each carefully thought-out flavor profile.

Why create both Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic drinks?

The market is changing and while many people still enjoy drinking alcohol in most social environments, many others want an alternative and do not feel the desire for Alcohol. For those looking for a complex substitute, or just something to enjoy in between drinks, we wanted to create an adult tasting/looking beverage that could be enjoyed without the side-effects.

With so many brands choosing to go the co-packing route, what made you choose to create your own production facility?

Creating a unique tasting experience requires quality control and reducing the amount of hands that touch your product. To ensure quality, taste and consistency it was important that our Chicago Hard Honey facility was vertically integrated to make everything in-house to maintain our motto “Hive to Hand” (@Hive2Hand).  Being in the industry since 2004, we understood the size of the market and decided to build out our bottling and canning line along with every piece of equipment needed to produce up to 4 million cans per month. The plan is to build similar facilities in other States as we expand our beehive footprint and increase local honey production.

What inspired the beautiful, clean design?

Our design took over 80 iterations to get the sleek premium look that makes it unique enough to be a part of the decor at a high end club, restaurant or gracing the most elegant tables at a Mindy Weiss Wedding! When you’re making a product that only has four to six ingredients, those ingredients must be top shelf because we don’t use anything to mask any of the flavors. We wanted the design to fit the aesthetics of transparency, sustainability and quality.

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Why choose honey as your main source for your product?

Honeybees only live for 3-4 weeks and are incredibly important for the planet and the survival of our species. Many of us don’t realize bees are responsible for ⅓ of our food crops and without them, scientists say we would only live for another decade. Knowing their intrinsic value, it only made sense to use Honey as our sustainable base for one of the most natural resources that cannot only be sourced and used in abundance, but is replenishable as well. The benefits of raw honey vs. corn syrup, sugars and synthetic sweeteners are endless.

Hive₂O’s foray into the competitive beverage market is an inspiring example of thoughtfulness in the face of vertical marketing brand creation.  With a deep understanding of the evolving demands of consumers, Hive₂O aims to break the cycle of mediocrity and provide a sensory experience of taste for everyone. By having a vertically integrated production facility and commitment to sustainability, Hive₂O sets a new standard in the industry, proving that excellence can be achieved from “Hive to Hand.”