If you hadn’t already gathered from the pictures all over the internet of Angelina Jolie covered in bees – well, more of a smattering than a covering to be fair – this week is Bee Awareness Week, when the plight of the bee should be foremost in our minds.
Wyre Forest’s eco-distiller Wildjac’s Honey Spiced Rum is doing its bit by gifting a bee-jou, ready-to-move into and very desirable bee house with every purchase on World Bee Day, each one worth a market-beating £15.
The multi-story bee house with self-contained residential units has been designed to appeal to home seeking, cavity-nesting, solitary bees such as masons, leafcutters and yellow-faces. Currently, 35 species are under threat of extinction and Wildfjac hopes to encourage rum lovers to make their gardens more insect friendly.
Wildjac’s rum is made from sustainably sourced Caribbean and south American sugar cane at Barbados’ Foursquare Distillery. The rum has been blended with Worcestershire and English coriander.
Co-founder Aster Sadler says: “We’d like to acknowledge the role that bees play both in our product’s creation and in maintaining a healthy environment and economy, by gifting bee houses with every full size bottle of Honey Spiced Rum. It’s a small gesture to help this wonderful creature.”
Every bottle also comes with a book of wildflower Seedsticks to encourage rum drinkers to affect change by supporting their local habitat. Wildjac, based in Bewdley, is part of the 1% For The Planet programme, which seesone per cent of all sales given back to charities and organisations including the Wyre Forest Community Land Trust, Tree for Cities and the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.
Calvados producer Avallen Spirits, founded by Stephanie Jordan and Tim Etherington-Judge, has also formalised its commitment to ‘planet positivity’ by becoming a member of 1% For The Planet. Avallen is available online for £35 from the UK’s leading ethical market place My Green Pod as well as Ocado, Master of Malt, The Whisky Exchange, or directly from their website.
“Our beebombs are our way to make it as easy as possible for people to plant wildflowers, which provide vital food for our beloved bees,” says Etherington-Judge. “Rather than providing packets of seeds, which require finding soil, potting, planting etc, we have partnered with a company called Kabloom who make what we like to call ‘weapons of mass pollination’: composting paper grenades filled with organic, peat free soil and wildflower seeds.
“We have set an ambition of planting 10,000 wildflowers, through our beebombs and other activities within our first three years, and World Bee Day is our birthday. This year we’re two years old.”
The sustainable business sector is expected to boom over the next 10 years as consumer demand for more environmentally conscious products and services grows. “From the outset when creating Avallen we wanted to ‘Bee Positive’ in all that we do,” says Jordan.
“Wild bee populations are in decline around the world. Without our furry little winged warriors, there’s no coffee. You can forget about pizza, and say goodbye to avocado on toast for breakfast. There would be no lemonade, no fries or potato chips. No berries, chillies, cucumbers, and, most importantly for us, no apples. And it’s not just the honey bee. There are 25,000 known species of bee, and it’s the wild bees that are most at risk.”
Angelina Jolie this week said that her publicity stunt for Bee Week, in which she donned a bee bib, “felt lovely”