About the Hive
The origins of Smitty Bee Honey date back to the 1920s when Louis Henkelman purchased a simple beekeeper's starter kit. What has continued to be a hobby for four generations has also become a big business, as the Schmitz family has expanded production to bring their passion for quality honey to the masses.
When LaVern "Smitty" Schmitz married into the Henkelman family in the 1950s, LaVern took an interest in Louis' hobby, buying his own bees and marketing his sweet stuff as Smitty Bee Honey to packers in the Midwest. LaVern's son, Doug, would follow in his father's footsteps, starting his own honey producing operation in 1976 and later taking over Smitty Bee operations to market honey to industrial customers for use as an ingredient. Today, Doug's son, Tony, serves as the company's General Manager and has grown Smitty Bee Honey into one of the nation's leading industrial honey suppliers with a strong reputation in the food service and retail industries.
We pride ourselves on running a modern, clean and efficient facility and continue to expand our operations to accommodate customer demand. In 2013, we are adding approximately 20,000 square feet that will include a retail bottling room, offices, and additional warehouse and production space. While our facility and operation continues to grow, we remain focused on the small-town values, hard work, and customer commitment that have helped build Smitty Bee.
Smitty Bee is proud to belong to the following organizations:
- American Beekeeping Federation
- Iowa Honey Producers Association
- National Honey Board
- National Honey Packers & Dealers Association
- Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA)
- Western States Honey Packers & Dealers Association
Owner and fourth-generation honey producer Tony Schmitz is the Vice President of the Western States Honey Packers & Dealers Association and a member of the National Honey Board.