miami | Drink + Dine

The Bee’s Knees: sbe’s Own Bee-Keeper

August 15, 2014
Written by: Yasha Wallin
Images by Olivia, Kelsey and Tessa Wogan

Saturday is National Honey Bee Day, and to celebrate these buzzing creatures and raise awareness around their importance to us, we tapped sbe’s very own Ian Wogan, a server at The Bazaar South Beach and bee keeper extraordinaire. Miami born and bred, Wogan has been supplying honey from his bees to local bars, restaurants and coffee shops, for delicious drinks like the gin-based “Bee’s Knees.” Here he tells us about why bees are so crucial, what we can learn from them, and how honey goes great with coffee.

How did you get into bee keeping?

I studied environmental studies and sustainable agriculture. One of my first jobs was managing an organic farm, so I got exposed through there. When I decided to leave the farm and do my own thing, I mentored under a guy who’s been doing it for 40 years. He showed me the process of bee-keeping and trade secrets. Then from that, me and my good friend Drake Kurlander became arborists. We have a sustainable arborist business called True Tree Service—climbing trees and keeping bees.

Working with customers at The Bazaar must be different than working with bees?

Totally, but I really enjoy it. I’m definitely a people person, and I love to be out and about. I’m a bee myself, floating all over the place.

Do you have a favorite cocktail or food recipe that you use your honey in?

I love honey over granola in the morning, honey in my smoothie, honey in my coffee. I love making bbq glazes with honey. In cocktails the sky is the limit. The gin-based “Bee’s Knees” cocktail is a quality one.

What are the common misconceptions people have about bees?

Like any wild animal they have an uncanny ability to pick up different emotional responses from human beings. You definitely send out signals very clearly. It’s all about having this deep faith that you’re not there to bother them. Going into any situation with that sensibility you radiate a different kind of energy than if you’re stressed out thinking the bees are going to bite at any second. It’s all about mutual respect.