George Hood bottled his first jar of honey in East Lothian in 1950 and there has been a constant supply of Hood’s honey ever since. We have supplied our oldest current customer since 1958.
George was tutored by the great Willie Smith of Innerleithen, who was quite simply the country’s greatest ever beekeeper, and designed the hive that almost all of Scotland’s beekeepers use today.
George developed a very close relationship with him and became his ‘protégé’. George in fact went into partnership with him and took over the bees on his retirement.
The Smith strain of bee live on in the Hood stock which are thought by many to be the finest honey producing bees found anywhere. Two of Willie Smith’s apiaries are still run by us at Hoods honey and we continue to use the same strain of bee and equipment that has been there since the 1930s.
Here at Hood’s Honey, our ethos has always been to keep the business small and manageable, tending for the bees the ‘old-fashioned’ way. It has always been our view that 200 hives properly cared for can produce the honey of 400-500 hives that are uncared for and ‘let alone’.
Our hives are based mainly in East Lothian but we also have apiaries in Midlothian and the Scottish Borders. For decades we have maintained close relationships with many of the local great estates where the bees are kept and have become part of the fabric of the area.
George Hood’s obsession with standards and attention to detail went far beyond that of his actual beekeeping. His view was always that every single jar of honey produced must be to the same exacting standards (i.e. a commercial sample capable of winning honey competitions.)
We have won every top award available in Scotland, an achievement not usually obtained by those who are producing honey on a commercial scale.
Every sample of honey is harvested, extracted and stored purposefully. We personally taste and then every crop of honey is blended and mixed to get the best possible product. Every jar of Scottish Honey is bottled and labelled by hand.
We are the sole suppliers to many top-end private, public and quasi-governmental outlets. We also supply numerous farm shops, groceries and gift outlets as far north as Orkney and as far south as Devon.
We have always been interested in supplying quality outlets that ‘fit’ our own ethos and always view our customers as friends.
Our exacting standards carry forward also into our beeswax (bi-product of beekeeping), which has been used to fill the Great Seal of Scotland and seal every act of the Scottish Parliament since its inception – over 200 in number.
Hood’s Honey is now run by me, Stuart Hood. I inherited Hood’s Honey from my dad, George, and have been involved in the beekeeping business my entire life.
Undeniably my very earliest memory is being stung by a bee when my dad gave me a good night hug after coming home from the bees!