What's the Skinny on Skinny Bee?
What the skinny on Skinny Bee
Spring 2021, we launched the Skinny Bee Variety pack. This was the culmination of over a year of planning and testing. Skinny Bee is Meridian Hive’s answer to the barely-there, unnatural flavors of all the seltzers on the shelves. Just like our classic line, Skinny Bee is made with only the purest of Orange Blossom Honey and the highest quality real fruit puree. Let’s take a further look!
The Unsung Hero of Meridian Hive
While Meridian Hive is built on honey and fruit, the unsung ingredient of our products is water. Unlike other wineries where using water in their product is called amelioration and is considered a bad thing, it is a necessary step to everything we make. We use filtered water from the Austin Municipal Water source in all our drafts. According to Mike, our brewer, Austin Municipal Water has low minerality, meaning there is no negative impact on the flavor to Skinny Bee (as well as all our other Hard Honey drafts). If we were to produce Skinny Bee anywhere else, it would not taste the same! Water is truly the backbone of the entire Meridian Hive operation.
Now that we have the correct water, our next ingredient is honey! Why do we use Orange Blossom? Orange Blossom honey a more expensive ingredient, but we believe that this particular varietal is the best for our product. Orange Blossom has a distinct flavor that is left after the yeast consumes all the sugar.
The first steps to produce Skinny Bee is pure Orange Blossom honey. To prep the honey, we warm it up and blend it with water until they’re combined. Once combined, we add more water to cool down the honey. We can take that 80% sugar honey and bring that down by adding yeast to make alcohol. To produce Skinny Bee, we stop this process when the mixture has reached 4.2% alcohol, 73 calories, and 0 sugar. We then filter the boozy brew to get rid of the extra yeast. At this point, this honey mixture is consumable, however we advise trusting the process and letting it finish!
Once we have this mixture, it’s time for the real fruit! At Meridian Hive, we use only the top-of-the-line fruit purees. Why purees? Simply put: production.
We want to be able to deliver you our products on a consistent basis with the best flavors possible. To do so, we use fruit puree that must be stored refrigerated! None of the fake stuff that won’t go bad because it’s full of chemical preservatives.
Also, by using the highest quality purees, we are able reduce the production time from months to weeks. We also use real ingredients to accentuate our main flavors. In Skinny Bee Grapefruit, we add real rosemary – not extracts.
The flavors in the Skinny Bee line were chosen to deliver you the biggest flavor with the least calorie impact. Grapefruit, Blueberry, Cranberry, and Acai all deliver big punches of flavor without impacting the calorie or sugar count.
Those were just the final flavors we settled on - Mike tested a few other flavor options that we couldn’t make work. One of our first attempts was Skinny Bee Strawberry.
According to Mike, some fruits do not hold up well during our process. When the sugars are removed from strawberries, the flavor profile that comes back is not anywhere near strawberry flavor.
Another failed flavor choice was Mango. While this fruit was able to handle the manufacturing, the amount of filtration and time that would be needed to deliver a top-quality light hard honey was simply not possible.
Ready to go
After this infusion of the fruit into the honey booze mixture, we filter this into the bright tanks. Our bright tanks is where the carbonation happens! These tanks hold 200 gallons and are one of the last steps in the Skinny Bee journey.
After the carbonation process, it is time for canning.
Once canned, Skinny Bee is ready for boxing and distribution, and to finally end up in your hand for your enjoyment.