Kentucky Ag News
Lori and Keith Crigger dip into their top-selling bourbon creamed honey.
Bourbon and honey are a match made in Kentucky
Crigger Farm puts a new wrinkle on an old product
By CHRIS ALDRIDGE, Kentucky Agricultural News
WARSAW, Ky. - There’s nothing new about creamed honey. The first method for producing it was patented in the U.S. in 1935.
But Crigger Farm, a Kentucky Proud agribusiness in Gallatin County, has added a new twist.
“Creamed honey has always been around, but we didn’t see too many flavored cream honeys,” said owner/beekeeper Keith Crigger. “We started flavoring it, and it turned out real good.”
Crigger Farm sells creamed honey in seven flavors: original, cinnamon, ginger, lavender, orange spice, pecan, and its best-selling flavor, bourbon.
Nothing says “Kentucky” quite like bourbon, where about 95 percent of it is made.
“We had done some honey bourbon balls that were pretty popular,” Crigger said, explaining that he mostly uses bourbon from Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, although recent batches have also used Elijah Craig bourbon from Bardstown.
“We experimented with different bourbons, and Buffalo Trace worked real good for us,” he added.
Crigger Farm’s website claims “the possibilities are endless” for its creamed honeys. It suggests drizzling it over hot biscuits, slathering it on warm pancakes, adding some pizazz to morning oatmeal or yogurt, spicing up coffee or tea, or using it as a glaze on a favorite dish.
Another popular product is Crigger Farm’s Peanut Butter & Honey Fluff, which includes a swirl of marshmallow crème.
But raw local honey remains Crigger Farm’s best seller on the shelves of about 40 retail stores statewide, including The Friendly Market, a Kentucky Proud member in Florence, and four farmers’ markets each week in Boone County, Fort Thomas, Owen County, and at the Findlay Market in Cincinnati.
Crigger called his father, Jim “Pappaw” Crigger, the “inspiration” behind his honey business.
“My dad was a beekeeper, and I helped him as a kid, so I was around it a lot,” Keith said. “After he passed, we [Keith and his wife, Lori] picked it up and kept it going.”
Keith personally manages about 50 beehives at eight locations in northern Kentucky. He does not chemically treat the hives, and they are not placed on any property where chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides are used to ensure the most natural honey possible.
Some of the beehives are placed on two Kentucky Proud farms, Merrell Family Farm near Hebron and Moore's Farm near Burlington, to help pollinate their crops.
“In a decent year, we can get about 100 pounds of honey per hive, but it varies,” Keith said. “We also partner with other local beekeepers to meet the demand for local honey. We process, bottle, and ship all of the honey from our commercial kitchen.”
Keith said Crigger Farm’s honey is coarsely filtered and never warmed to a temperature higher than what it was naturally in the hive.
“We don’t filter the particles out,” Keith said. “We leave the small pieces of pollen and honeycomb that are in honey naturally. That’s what gives you the health benefits of local honey.
“A lot of big outfits filter all that out and heat it up as well, because that keeps their honey from crystalizing, which gives it a longer shelf life.”
Keith said Kentucky Proud has helped his business “in a number of ways.
“We have attended quite a few training seminars on many topics that were very helpful in starting and expanding our business,” he said. “We also use a number of Kentucky Proud marketing materials, and I think just being able to display the Kentucky Proud logo on our products and materials helps elevate our company's credibility in potential customers’ eyes. Also, being a member of the organization has allowed us to participate in sponsored events.”
For more information about Crigger Farm, or to shop for its honey products, go to criggerfarm.com.