Craft honey beer swarms into the on-trade

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Honey

Hiver – The Honey Beer is brewed by Hepworth Brewery in Horsham, Sussex
Hiver – The Honey Beer is brewed by Hepworth Brewery in Horsham, Sussex
A former Meantime Brewery worker has fulfilled her ambition to showcase the story of independent beekeepers and their produce through a craft beer, with the on-trade launch of Hiver – The Honey Beer.

Hiver – The Honey Beer is the brainchild of Hannah Rhodes, who previously worked for Meantime as sales and sales and marketing manager.

Smooth and easy-drinking, Hiver is an all-British, all-natural speciality beer, which is long-matured and unpasteurised. The blonde beer is fermented and conditioned with three different honeys and the subtle flavours are supported by speciality organic malt.

It is brewed by Hepworth Brewery in Horsham, Sussex, and Bees forage in a three mile radius, meaning that honey from independent beekeepers is varied in flavour, colour and aroma. The bitterness is low and UK cascade hops provide a light citrus balance to the beer.

The beer has an ABV of 5% and is packaged in screen-printed bottles.


The unique selling point of Hiver Honey Beer is possibly its inventor. The idea for the new beer came about when Rhodes attended a workshop about urban beekeeping last year – she developed a keen interest in bees and wanted to showcase the story of independent beekeepers and their produce through a craft beer – her other passion.

“Honey beer is a traditional British beer style that’s been somewhat forgotten about and I’d love to revive it through Hiver,” said Rhodes. “I feel there’s an opportunity for a new category in craft with this beer style and I’m thrilled to bring Hiver to the market as the new and authentic face of honey beer.”

Rhodes, who was more laterly the London sales manager for Frobishers Juices, developed a recipe that ensured the beer's honey flavour could shine through without it being too sweet or cloying. It was important to her that the beer be of the highest quality and contain only British ingredients.

Ten per cent of profits are to be donated to pollinator charities and urban space development projects and the brand will focus on beekeeping imagery as it develops.


Hiver’s ‘soft launch’ sees it available in ten outlets across London with a number of tastings and events in the diary. Hiver is available for the trade now, in cases of 24 x 330ml.


The beer has an RRP of £4.80. Anyone interested in sampling the product or finding out more should email vasb@uvireorref.pbz​.

Why you should buy it:

“The time is right for a brand-led, well distributed craft beer that taps into the urban food scene,” added Rhodes. “As a non-hoppy beer, Hiver is a refreshing change from the heavily hopped craft beers of late and provides bartenders with an authentic craft beer, a unique story and flavour profile and a beer that’s accessible to more mainstream tastes.

“Through a series of focus groups, I took on board the potential concerns of operators and consumers and I hope that the end result meets the demands of both.

Rhodes believes Hiver is perfect for craft beer bars, restaurants and festivals and that it matches fantastically well with food. Premium outlets and sites with a food or ‘British-made’ focus would therefore find it a good addition to their beer menu.

More information:

Hannah intends to focus on independents and small multiples in the on trade initially. Longer term plans include a full trade launch and widespread consumer awareness campaign in early 2014. Two additional flavours are also planned. 

Related topics: New Products, Alcohol

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