Busy bees at De Koninck City Brewery
Tastemakers and De Koninck City Brewery… just like bees and honey, the attraction is mutual! As of recently, a new Tastemaker has been hard at work at the brewery. Or should we say: his bees have been hard at work! For urban beekeeper, Micha De Herdt installed a beer tank on our car park a while back with two beehives inside. That’s around 160,000 bees in all. Good for a whole lot of honey but also good for biodiversity and our environment.
Recent visitors to our city brewery may have noticed a conspicuous-looking filter tank on our car park. No beer inside this time but a whole bunch of honey frames and around 160,000 bees. City honey is the hottest thing at the moment. And the beehives at De Koninck are just two out of more than 200 hives which urban beekeeper,
Micha De Herdt has set up in and around Antwerp.
New employees at the brewery
You could be forgiven for thinking it’s just a coincidence: just in time for “bee week”, the beehives at De Koninck City Brewery were staffed with around 30,000 bees. And since that number typically grows to around 80,000 per hive, that adds up to quite a few new employees at the brewery!
Sven Dekleermaeker: “The bees and above all the honey they produce are a massive boon for our tastemakers. Chocolatier Jitsk, for example, can’t wait to use the honey in his pralines. But it was actually another of our tastemakers, Peggy Van Haver from the Butcher’s Store who came up with the idea of installing beehives at the brewery. She and her husband Luc De Laet have namely been keeping beehives on the roof of their butchery De Laet & Van Haver in Hove since 2016. They use the honey in their marinades and sell whatever’s left in their shop.”
The bees fly within a radius of 3km in search of nectar and pollen. But unlike in the country where the menu typically consists of a monoculture of grass ad maize fields, the city is bursting with biodiversity! The flowers on people’s balconies and roofs, in parks and city gardens give the bees the opportunity to forage for enough nectar and pollen to make life in the city more than viable. In fact, Antwerp is a veritable oasis for the honey bee!
Bees have a reputation for stinging but residents should not be concerned. Imker Micha De Herdt: “There’s nothing but benefits for the neighbourhood. For people with gardens, the bees will pollinate their fruit, vegetables and flowers, which means larger fruit, of a more regular shape and longer shelf life. The bees also contribute to greater biodiversity and a healthier ecosystem, since the bees that perish during the summer months in turn become food for birds and insects. And the honey – thanks to the many different varieties of plants and trees – is deliciously rich and fragrant.”
Urban beekeeping does more than just sustain bee populations and biodiversity. It also helps boost awareness for ecology and environmental management amongst the city’s inhabitants. And what better place to keep bees than at the city brewery? A place that is brimming with tastemakers!