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brewersapprenticeThe Brewer’s Apprentice: An Insider’s Guide to the Art and Craft of Beer Brewing, Taught by the Masters

by Greg Koch and Matt Allyn

Unlike most brewers, Bob makes his beverage from the same raw materials he helped create earlier in the year: He is also a beekeeper of course, his bees do a good share of the legwork in creating honey, but Bob’s attention to detail and lifelong infatuation with bees creates an exceptional mead.

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signageFeatured Winery

by Robert Bell, WinesofCanada.com

One of the best places for producing Mead is Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery in Sooke* British Columbia a short drive from the provinces capital Victoria. The combination of Bob Liptrot’s 43 years of beekeeping experience and over 25 years of mead making experience bring a unique and educational culinary experience to mead produced here.

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meadbottlesSooke’s the Place to Quench a Need for Mead

by Garth Eichel, Victoria Times Colonist – Thursday, May 26, 2011

It’s remarkable to consider that over several millennia, humans have tried ingesting just about everything in the pursuit of sustenance or bliss. More often than not, experimentation ends in disappointment, if not sickness or death. But every now and again the outcome is wonderful. Just imagine, then, the reaction of the first prehistoric brute to guzzle fermented honey water -what we now know as mead.

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beeThe Mystery of the Missing Bees

by Susan Hauser, Northwest Palate – September/ October 2008

B.C. Beekeeper Optimistic Despite Losses

Bob Liptrot’s beehives dot 12 oceanside acres west of Victoria on Vancouver Island. This is Tugwell Creek Honey Farm. Since 2003 its been a meadery, as well, producing up to 12,000 bottles of honey wine each year.Liptrot says after learning beekeeping from his neighbor as a boy, his innate curiosity led him eventually to a Master’s degree in Apicultural Sciences from Simon Fraser University.

During the summer, people stop by Liptrot’s tasting room to sample the variety of meads he makes from his own honey. Invariable, the subject of colony collapse disorder comes up. Between sips, visitors can get an education.

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Celebrating the Humble Honeybee

by Pirjo Raits, Sooke News Mirror – May 25, 2010

Bob Liptrot from Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery is concerned about the loss of honeybees and discontinuation of a moratorium on imported bees. Photo: Pirjo RaitsVITAL FOOD LINK DISAPPEARING

The sweet, sticky amber liquid that has been called the nectar of the gods is nature’s original sweetener – but the natural order is crashing. The honey industry is in a crisis situation and there is no solution in sight.

Many beekeepers have lost over 90 per cent of their bees, sending the industry into a tailspin. Add to that the lifting of a 22-year bee quarantine and you have a frail and failing bee industry.

Bees not only produce honey but they are essential for pollination. Without bees, food crops and fruit trees would not produce and much of what we eat would simply not exist.
“One of every three mouthfuls of food we eat bees are responsible for,” says Bob Liptrot of Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery.

Liptrot lost 60 per cent of his bees last year and feels he got off light. In the past three years over 50 billion honeybees have died. A large amount of research into what is called Colony Collapse Disorder is necessary to help.

He said the bee quarantine lifted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands on May 1, makes no sense as they don’t know what is killing the livestock. The quarantine helped keep out pests and pathogens, but did not include the varroa mite, 12 to 15 years ago, that took out hundreds of hives in the space of a few years, resulting in millions of dollars of damage. “It’s like opening the barn door when you have mad cow disease,” said Liptrot.

Vancouver Island has 1,200 independent beekeepers and many of the older beekeepers are worn out, out of funds and are walking away.

He said if the situation was one where Fraser Valley chicken farmers lost 90 per cent of their chickens and had to start over, serious questions would be asked and something would be done.

Liptrot has been a beekeeper for 40 years and he, along with his partner Dana LeComte, opened their honey farm and meadery in 1998.

On May 29, Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery is hosting the Day of the Honeybee in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of honeybees and to raise funds for the Canadian Bee Research Fund.

“Our goal is to increase people’s awareness of what bees do for us and what we can do for them,” says Dana LeComte.

Between 12 and 5 p.m., people of all ages can take part in educational tours of the farm and meadery.

MLA John Horgan will make the proclamation and cut the cake to celebrate the first Honeybee Awareness Day in the Sooke region. There will be experienced beekeepers on hand to answer questions about bees and a demonstration hive will be on display so folks can see a hive in action. Children can take part in face painting by donation, a colouring area and a beekeepers dress-up area.

Inside the tasting room, past vintages and test batches can be sipped with 100 per cent of the price going to research. Tugwell Creek will be donating 10 per cent of all regular tasting room proceeds to the Canadian Bee Research Fund.

To help save the honeybee, there are a couple of things one can do, said Liptrot.

First, and foremost, is to stop using pesticides, especially synthetic nicotine-based ones, which are deadly to insect life. He said it is important to encourage habitat for wild honeybees by planting flowers and bee gardens.

“It is important for the continuing well being of agriculture and food security,” said Liptrot.

The Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery tasting room, at 8750 West Coast Road, is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. For more information go to: www.tugwellcreekfarm.com.

    • Location & Hours

      Tugwell Creek Honey Farm & Meadery
      8750 West Coast Road Sooke, BC V9Z 1H2
      Tel: (250) 642-1956
      Email: [email protected]

      Tasting Room Hours of Operation
      Closed January
      Saturday & Sundays, 12pm to 5pm

      Trade Contact
      Regional Agent Lower Mainland, Whistler & Sunshine Coast
      Richard Massey: [email protected]
      Tel: 604-454-4046

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