Meet Our Neighbor: the bee collective

Just steps from the brewery on the hill across Lucas Street, you’ll find the bee collective and its founder, Luke Howard. Luke, a 2016 graduate from Ohio State’s Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (EEDS) program, founded the bee collective in 2019 with the mission of supporting pollinators and pollinator habitats, while providing enthusiastic environmental education to the city of Columbus.

The bee collective focuses much of its work on education that can inspire members of the community to be curious about their relationship to the planet. They also align and partner with local businesses to improve and provide habitats to honey bees and native pollinators. 

Wildspots – created and defined by the bee collective – are urban plots where the natural ecosystem and biodiversity are encouraged and celebrated; they can be found throughout the city in community gardens, local businesses, art galleries, backyards, restaurants, local farms and nonprofits. (View the full list of locations here.) The pollinator gardens in these Wildspots build up biodiversity so that herbs, flowers and pollinators all coexist beautifully in each location.

“Everything the bee collective does is aimed at breaking down the barrier between people and the world. Wildspots not only provide the much needed habitats and food our pollinators need to survive, they also provide a space for humans to get a little weird and wonderful.”

– Luke Howard, Founder & Beekeeper at the bee collective

In 2020, the bee collective began their Wildspot Initiative via an Indiegogo campaign aiming to build and home 20 native bee boxes in Columbus’s first Wildspots. While these bees may resemble their stinging cousins, native bees generally do not sting – making them a fun, productive, and educational addition to a space. 

The bee collective also offers a variety of classes and events – everything from hosting Ohio’s Ecology On Tap series to hands-on beekeeping experiences. If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into bee-keeping, the bee collective’s Wild Nights events – hosted outdoors at their 410 W. Town Street space – feature a mix of live music, ecology talks, a tea ceremony and native plant sales. Though Wild Nights are typically held in warmer weather months – you can explore all events from the bee collective here.

Beer Collaboration: HOPBEE

With such important work happening right in our own back (side?) yard at the bee collective – collaborating with them on a beer to help raise awareness of their mission and using extremely local honey harvested from their bee boxes was a no-brainer.

“When I tasted the bee collective honey, aside from the typical sweetness – I sensed a low-citrus characters and a warm breadiness similar to that found in Origin Malts. We opted to use an experimental yeast strain designed to free tropical thiols from the hops since thiols are also found in honey. Incorporating this yeast with the floral and citrus character of the Michigan-grown Centennial and Summit hops to complement the honey, the recipe for HopBee Honey Double IPA took shape – resulting in a dry and semi-firm bitterness that helps keep everything from seeming too sweet.”

– Dan Shaffer, Head Brewer at Land-Grant

Join us Thursday evening (10/21/21) for a party celebrating the collaboration with the bee collective and the release of HopBee Honey Double IPA. Limited edition 16 oz. cans with a label featuring a honey bee with a hop as its abdomen (enter: HopBee) adorned in the bee collective’s signature gold and purple brand colors will be available in four-packs for carryout. We’ll also be tapping this honey-forward Double IPA for the event on Thursday. The party will also feature live music from local acts GUNK and Al Smyth’s FBnCC, playing on the Beer Garden stage from 6:00-8:00pm. Following the music, guests are invited to head across the street to the bee collective for a “telling the bees” ceremony and an ecology talk steeped in folklore. 

The bee collective also has a variety of products you can purchase from their online shop, ranging from merch and jewelry to tea and bee boxes. Several elements, including one-of-a-kind art pieces, will be on display in the Taproom for the beer release event. Shop the bee collective’s products online here.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

If you’ve spent time at Land-Grant over the years, you’ve seen the evolution of what is now our expansive Beer Garden. What began as a vacant lot of grass has transformed it into a lively community space for friends and family to gather and enjoy music, trivia, movies, game watches and plenty of Land-Grant beer. As the weather warmed up this year, we made several additional updates – including 13 trees, gas fire pits and planting native plants throughout the Beer Garden thanks to the help of Luke and the bee collective.

Luke mapped out and helped us implement dozens of varieties of native plant species into our Beer Garden to help beautify the space with varieties loved by pollinators. The choice to use native plants for this project also helps us reduce our water footprint in a small but important way, as these varieties require fewer resources to thrive. 

Next time you walk through the Beer Garden, take a peek inside our planters and look for the placards with QR codes to scan to learn more about why each plant was carefully selected by the bee collective for this project. Along the edge of the Turf Area, you can also spot sunflowers, goldenrods, and asters that bloom over the warm summer months, making for a perfectly Instagram-able backdrop, courtesy of the bee collective.

Keep Up With The Latest Buzz

While their goals are big, the bee collective notes that they are achievable by doing one good deed and one little act at a time. If you’d like to learn more about how you can support and engage with the bee collective, visit their website or follow them on Instagram and Facebook.