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September 27, 2012

The Brown Palace Hotel’s Rooftop Honey Program

By Erin Schumaker | Hotel, Food

honeybee beer
Photo courtesy of Brown Palace Hotel & Spa

September, when honey production in the U.S. is in full swing, is National Honey Month, and beekeepers and honey aficionados have been celebrating all month long. In addition to fall farmers’ markets and a proliferation of honey-sweetened recipes, there have been honey festivals from New York to Arizona, and even a Honey Summit in Chicago.

Hotels have gotten into the act, too, the most notable being The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, Colorado. The Brown started a Bee Royalty Program in 2010 to raise awareness about the world’s declining bee population, and today the hotel’s rooftop colony consists of four hives and more than 200,000 Italian honeybees (which are considered better foragers than the more common Carniolan variety).

With an expected harvest of 180 pounds of honey this year and 200 pounds next year, guests are in for an abundance of sweet treats—from honey-infused bourbon created in collaboration with local Breckenridge Distillery to honey-buttermilk scones served during the Brown’s famous afternoon tea to handcrafted honey-lavender soap. It all exemplifies how luxurious and delicious sustainable living can be.

Visitors can simply enjoy the fresh honey for now, but they may be able to take on a more active role in the future. “Guests are on the receiving end,” says Jeff Dodd, one of the hotel’s beekeepers, who has been with the Brown for three years and a beekeeper for four. “But if people are interested in beekeeping, they can contact me to get started.” Rooms, from $270; 321 17th St.; 800-321-2599; brownpalace.com.

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