Waldorf Astoria puts rooftop honey in a brew

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Waldorf BuzzLike other hotels with bee apiaries, the Waldorf Astoria New York incorporates the produced honey into restaurant dishes, cocktails and products for spa treatments.

The hotel’s latest honey venture is a partnership with the Empire Brewing Company in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, to create a sweet brown ale called Waldorf Buzz.

Using 50 pounds of “Top of the Waldorf Rooftop Honey,” the craft beer has hints of caramel and nuttiness.

Empire Brewing only uses all-natural and locally sourced ingredients, making it the perfect brewery to craft Waldorf Buzz.

“Another reason we chose to partner with Empire Brewing Company is because the Waldorf Astoria has historical ties to the Finger Lakes,” said Matt Zolbe, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. The Fingers Lakes were home to Frederick Robert Usher, the builder who oversaw the Waldorf’s original construction in the 1890s.

Due to the limited amount of honey the brewery was allocated, only 12 kegs were produced this season. Waldorf Buzz is available on draft at the Park Avenue hotel for $9, as well as in Empire Brewing’s bar and restaurant in Syracuse. The supply is estimated to last until December.

Waldorf apiaryIn recent years, “backyard beekeeping” has become a hotel trend, bringing attention to the decreasing number of honeybee colonies in North America as well as catering to a demand for locally produced food.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is a leader in the industry’s beekeeping initiative, adding more hives and supporting elements to its 22 apiaries each year.

The first hotel to establish a rooftop apiary was the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto in June 2008. The idea came from the hotel’s then executive chef, David Garcelon, who was inspired by the beehives atop the Paris Opera House.

Garcelon has since moved to the Waldorf Astoria New York as the hotel’s culinary director, and is responsible for having brought bees to that hotel’s roof, as well.

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