Rooftop Honey in Chicago

Lynne Kiesling

The Marriott hotel on Michigan Avenue has been harvesting honey from beehives they have set up on their own roof. They use the honey in an on-site microbrew beer and in some of the dishes they make in their restaurant. What do you think are some of the economic motives driving such a decision? Is on-premise honey sufficiently esoterically gourmet to be that compelling to consumers?

4 thoughts on “Rooftop Honey in Chicago

  1. Appealing to the locavores?

    Maybe it was a simple “make or buy” decision, and they decided to “make” rather than “buy.” According to data reported by the National Honey Board, imported honey has increased in cost significantly over the past two years (but oddly, domestic honey prices are only up modestly).

    I favor the locavore/gourmet cachet explanation. Presumably they don’t use so much honey to force them into self-production.

  2. Stupid bees stung me last time I visited that hotel… I’m considering a lawsuit of millions (just kidding, but my overall point is that I don’t think the environmental benefit outweights the work and potential lawsuits involved in breeding killer honey bees on rooftops).

  3. I think the selling-point is that the chef(s) think the quality of the food is important enough to be involved in its production right from the garden. They are not subject to the quality that happens to be available, they make sure that the quality they require IS available.
    It was a point my wife made to convince me to make reservations at the Coombe house in Devon. Now that I’ve eaten the food, I go back there at any opportunity and don’t need to be convinced.
    There is also a locavore theory that ingesting local pollen via local honey helps to somehow inoculate you against the local allergens. I know whenever I change locale my allergies go mad, so this might swing me to stay there rather than a competitor.

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