Mar 4, 2021
Get Your Honey: From
Academic to Entrepreneur with Lee Hedgmon
Life takes unexpected turns. We
do things only to find out later they’re not for us, and it takes a
lot of bravery to step off that path and start a new
In this episode, Lee Hedgmon
joins us to share how her business, The Barreled Bee, became what
it is today. She talks about starting from a brewery and later
moving on to a distillery. She also explains how she first worked
with honey and how her business developed from it.
If you’re an aspiring
entrepreneur and want to learn more about how Lee paved the way for
her business, then this episode is for you.
Here are three reasons why you should listen to the
- Gain valuable insights from Lee’s journey of
being an academic to having a business selling honey
- Learn more about the various products of The
- Discover the challenges that Lee faced as an
- My first book, Relationship Ready: How I Stopped Fucking
Randos and Started Cupcaking My Soulmate, is available on
workbook! Apply the
lessons you learn from this episode as you listen! Subscribe to
my mailing list, and I'll send it right away!
- The Barreled Bee: Website | Instagram
From Academia to Brewery
- While she was in grad school, Lee was teaching.
She took up homebrewing as a stress-reliever while doing her
- When she moved back to Portland, she joined a
homebrew club at Portland State.
- Lee worked at a friend’s winery and met some
people who owned a brewery, which collaborated with
Distilling and Lee’s Interest in Honey
- Lee did brewery for almost ten years before
getting into distilling.
- She knows the distilling process because
perfuming was one of her interests; the distillation process was
the same for alcohol.
- Lee has always dealt with honey. She is an
amateur mead or honey winemaker.
- A friend offered her a spoonful of honey, and
she found the taste enjoyable.
- Different kinds of honey on different barrels
piqued her curiosity.
Taking Your Next Step
- Lee got barrels from people she knew in the
- She started her first experiment with a barrel
of bourbon and honey.
- She thought of a name and set her company up in
a matter of days.
- Her first product release was in December
- Lee had to write her own business plan and
struggled from the lack of outside funding.
The Barreled Bee’s Products
- The company sells packaged barreled
- Lee created cocktail-inspired honey sticks,
Buzz Stix, based on a cocktail called Honey Drop.
- In the future, she wants to do a coffee
- She has never produced a product she didn’t
like or didn’t work. Lee knows and is familiar with the ingredients
- Lee also worked with a local potter to create a
multi-purpose dish. You can use it to mix sauces and honey. It also
has a spout four pouring.
- Bees don’t travel far. You can find their hives
within a 3-to-5-mile radius.
- Bees and honey-making give you a fantastic
snapshot of the place and time held in the honey.
- Honey can have different tastes depending on
what plants grow in what season.
- Lee took up beekeeping because people were
asking her about bees. She wanted to be able to answer technical
- An educational apiary called Being at Home
tends to her hives when she is busy.
The Challenges of Being an Entrepreneur and Business
- Delegating is challenging. Trust is
- Lee spends most of her time doing vision work.
She usually delegates the administrative work to someone
- Getting her ideas acknowledged keeps her
- Lee loves a challenge. She wants to figure out
how to make unfamiliar products people would buy.
Lee’s Routine and Non-Negotiables
- Lee is a busy bee. She’s a morning person and
works as early as 5 am, six days a week.
- She enjoys her job, and it’s never hard for her
to get to work.
- Lee started doing intermittent fasting and does
it every single day.
- Coffee and herbal supplements are everyday
essentials for her.
- Lee tries not to have too many non-negotiable
things because her days aren’t set.
Lee’s Advice to Women
- Take ten minutes to criticize and be angry at
- Limit yourself to that time—nothing more and
nothing less—then move on.
5 Powerful Quotes from this Episode
“If you ever need help with
anything. Give me a call. You don't have to pay me. So many people
have helped me on my journey to get all these places.”
“I was like, ‘Is that all you're
gonna give me?’ She goes, ‘Oh, yeah, that's it.’ And so I take this
tiny little stingy spoonful. And I, I taste it. And I go, ‘Oh, this
is really interesting.’”
“Bees are magical in a sense. In
a whole lot of ways. But one of the ways that I absolutely love
them is because bees like to--they don't want to travel
“I took up beekeeping because
people were asking me about bees and I wanted to be able to answer
their questions, those kinds of technical questions about
beekeeping that people were asking, but also I thought I should
“The hardest part about this
business has been doing everything myself and learning to do
everything myself. But also recognizing that there's some things I
just can't do. I just have to. Understanding what my skill sets are
and what my strengths are.”
Lee Hedgmon is the founder of The Barreled Bee. She
is a recovering academic who turned her homebrewing hobby into a
career as a professional brewer before moving into distilling. She
keeps bees and runs her own business in making barrel-aged honey
and honey products. Lee regularly gives talks on using honey and
fermentation and how to choose and taste honey.
You can reach out to Lee through
her website and Instagram. You also purchase Barreled Bee products
at Freeland Spirits, Blackthorn Mercantile, and Abbey Creek Winery.
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