How A No-Deal Brexit Could Affect HONEY

23 January 2019, 12:27 | Updated: 23 January 2019, 12:31

Honey Bees

A honey producer from the North East has told Heart his business could struggle to keep up if we leave the EU without a deal.

It's because such a small amount of it is made in the UK.

Luke from the Northumberland Honey Company told us only 5% of the honey we see on our shelves is produced here, while the other 95% comes from abroad.

Luke said, "Honey is in quite high demand.

"It [a no-deal Brexit] may well create difficulties in bringing honey in, the price of honey is likely to go up.

"The difficulty really for us is actually meeting demand".

He also told us a major part of the problem is that there aren't enough people who want to work in bee farming.

Luke runs his business with his wife and just one other member of staff, yet they produce up to 6 tonnes of honey every year, and keep hundreds of thousands of bees.

He said, "There aren't many skilled workers who know about commercial beekeeping because we're such a small industry.

"People just see honey on the shelf and don't really think about where it comes from.

"There's not very much support, there's not really any government support like there is in conventional agriculture".

Luke is hoping to find an apprentice in time for the 29th of March, when we're due to leave the EU, so they're better prepared to keep up with demand.


Honey Jars

It's not all doom and gloom though.

Luke says, if the champange tap is turned off post-Brexit, the Northumberland Honey Company have come up with a solution.

"We've created a highly sought after and unique product that can compete with the likes of champagne.

"We diversified in to producing mead, which is honey alcohol, and we've used it to do a second fermentation inside of the bottle which is the same method as champagne to create a sparkling mead.

"There's no added tannins so you don't tend to suffer a bad head from it, and it's nearly 0 in sugar as well.

"You can drink whilst helping to increase and support bees in Northumberland. We're making it easy for people.

It's a lenghty process though, with one bottle taking around 2 YEARS to make. They produce around 5,000 bottles a year.

The Northumberland Honey Company are the only producer of sparkling mead in the UK.