PNMBR – ZZ’s Bees

Today in our semi-regular series, Proudly Not Made By Robots, we’re talking about honey and bees. To brew all of our honey-based beers, we source hundreds of pounds of honey from just north of us in Burwell, Nebraska. Since 2013, we’ve been doing business with the Zulkoski family at ZZ’s Bees. Their apiary produces the finest Sandhills’ prairie honey in Nebraska.

ZZ’s Bees honey provides us with a high-quality, local ingredient to brew some of our most sought after beers (think I Don’t Get It Honey Blonde Ale). Our business relationship with ZZ’s Bees also helps preserve prairie habitat by developing a business relationship that relies on grassland biodiversity. As SBC grows, so does opportunity with ZZ’s Bees.

So let’s get to know both Jerome and Kris Zulkoski from ZZ’s Bees:

Where did you grow up? Jerome grew up in Burwell and Kris grew up in Grand Forks, ND.

What is your favorite SBC beer? Favorite non-SBC beer? The I Don’t Get It Honey Blonde Ale (of course!). My favorite non-SBC beer is an Open beer.

Think back to your most memorable brewery experience: where and why? Scratchtown would be the best. Years ago, I had the opportunity to tour Coors Brewing in Golden CO. They kinda of run you through like cattle. I really prefer the small local craft brewery. The atmosphere and focus on the customer is top notch at SBC.

What do you do at your apiary? Any particular items of interest we should know about? I joke that there is a lot of picking things up and setting them down in beekeeping. Moving hives, honey, and maintaining the health of the bees is labor intensive, but I enjoy it.

Why did you get into keeping bees? I place the blame on my grandfathers.

Do you have any concerns about the cases of colony collapse of commercial beehives? What are your feelings about this? And how can both rural and urban folk help with pollinator habitat? The loss of colonies is always a concern, we do our best to maintain healthy bees and hope Mother Nature is kind to us. There is a lot that people can do to to help the pollinators. Planting beneficial trees is one way. Most people don’t know that at different times of the year, different species of trees provide nectar and pollen for bees. When planting trees in an urban setting, research different types to see which tree would work in your yard. Sugar maple, little leaf linden, big leaf linden, and honey locust are all examples of bee friendly trees.

What are you most proud of at ZZ’s Bees? People telling us “we love your honey.”