Our Story

Our Journey

HIVE was born from the spirit of adventure, a drive to be different and for the desire to care for and respect the environment. 

Inspired by the incredible world of bees and the luxurious, multifaceted honey they produce, James Rowlands, founder of HIVE Drinks Co, began his adventures into making alcohol in 2018 and made his first batch of Honey spirit on a copper alembic distiller in his home in the Wye Valley. 

Having a background in education, microbiology and biotechnology, experimented with and developed many delicious prototypes, that he was keen to bring into the world’s attention.

Starting with such a pure and multi-faceted taste profile could only result in an amazing honey spirit, a territory untapped by mass producers of distilled beverages and micro distillers alike. James recalls the moment he asked, ‘These magical honeys are some of the best in the world. Why not create a spirit made with honey? The sugars in honey provide the necessary elements for success, so why hasn’t it been done before?’

With this in mind, James began his journey into the drinks industry, seeking talented producers and creators and the rest, as they say, is history.

James Rowlands at Avon Mel

Afon Mêl

Afon Mêl is small, family-run bee farm business (est 1999) set against the beautiful countryside of rural Ceredigion West Wales, where master bee keeper and mead maker, Sam Cooper, produces his award-winning food and drink inspired by his love of bees and honey. Sam has transformed a dairy farm into abee farm it now hosts a Bees behind glass exhibition, coffee shop and gift shop making it the ideal visit for any nature enthusiast!

Working with Sam was an amazing experience and I am so grateful to him for sharing his time, energy and expertise with me. Sam’s depth of knowledge regarding bees, honey and creating exceptional products with honey is unmatched and it was a privilege for the apprentice to learn from the master.

Hensol Castle distillery

As a family run business, situated in the stunning grounds of the Grade I listed, 17th century Hensol Castle, Hensol Castle Distillery boasts a distillery, visitor centre, gin and rum school and bottling plant.  As place full of heritage and history, it provides the inspiration for many of the spirits that the distillery has created. 

This was the backdrop to a meeting I had with Master distiller Dai Wakley and his right hand man, Kyle Jones, in early 2020, where we immediately hit it off, sharing a common love for the craft and for honey. 

Both Dai and Kyle are phenomenal individuals in the world of spirits and honey. Their knowledge and experience of the distilling and drinks industry is exceptional and they are both masters of their craft who have helped distil my dreams into a reality. 

The Pembrokeshire coast


Inspired by his Pembrokeshire heritage, the coast line and natural beauty, the protection of the land, rivers and oceans is non-negotiable for James. As a teacher of Biology, he knows that that if we are respectful to the environment, the rest will follow. 

So even before we release our product, we’ve taken time to consider the impact it will have on the world and we want it to be a positive one. Everyone at Hive Drinks Co share a common goal to help protect and maintain our precious environment that has inspired us and provided so much. 

With this at the forefront of our creative process, we have been working on impactful initiatives that minimise our impact on the environment, support regeneration and make the most positive contribution we possibly can, in order to improve the health of our planet.