Noel Patterson, a wine distributor in Tucson, Ariz., started keeping bees as a hobby six years ago, with advice and guidance from local apiarists. But two years ago his hobby turned into something a little more: Dos Manos Apiaries, which is comprised of 40 hives.
Patterson’s honey business started through this day job.
“I would bring honey in when I harvested it from my backyard and eventually somebody asked if they could use the honey in their restaurant,” Patterson told the Arizona Daily Star. “This idea evolved that the only way for me to produce enough honey to support a restaurant would be if I started a new hive. But I didn’t have the money to start a new hive, so it grew into this idea of a restaurant paying the cost to start a new hive.”
Local eateries sponsor a hive for $300. The cost pays for equipment and bees and in turn the eateries receive locally sourced honey, which is purchased at an additional cost. According to the Arizona Daily Star, Patterson’s goal is to have a hive for each restaurant.
Even though business is going well so far, Patterson has no immediate plans to quit his day job. “If somebody wanted to pay me a lot of money, then sure,” he told the Arizona Daily Star, “but I’ve never met a rich beekeeper.”