Meet the Founder - Borage & Bee

“It’s incredible to see this drink, which has been around for so many years, be made relevant and cool again. Updated to suit the 21st-century consumer”. 

Meet Chanelle O’Sullivan, founder of boutique meadery Borage and Bee, whose collection of session meads tell the story of New Zealand's regional produce and seasons, by pairing local honey with fruits, herbs, spices and botanicals. 

Borage and Bee have joined us for our Sprout Accelerator 2021 Cohort B intake, along with 11 other AgTech and FoodTech start-ups.

The idea for Borage and Bee was conceived in 2018, when Chanelle read an article about a New Zealand based meadery whilst on holiday. 

“I immediately started thinking about the different flavour combinations I would use in order to tell New Zealand’s stories. It took me just over a year of contemplating whether it was the right thing to do before I dived into it”. 

The Borage and Bee team currently consists of two team members; founder Chanelle, an entrepreneur, veterinary nurse and digital marketer and Sam White, a qualified brewer and scientist with a wealth of industry experience and technical knowledge.

While there are around five other meaderies based here in New Zealand, Chanelle says that what sets Borage and Bee apart is their focus on telling New Zealand’s stories. 

“We’re making sure New Zealand is at the focus of everything we do. It’s about being able to use our product to engage with regional New Zealand and make sure that we're telling their stories, as well as supporting some amazing family-owned enterprises”. 

Chanelle says the business, which officially launched in 2019 has faced challenges at almost every step of the process. 

“I’ve come into this knowing virtually nothing about the alcohol industry, so everything from knowing how to label an alcoholic product, right through to navigating manufacturing has been a challenge. Our most recent hurdle has been in securing a solid manufacturer, which we believe we have now”. 

According to Chanelle, the popularity of mead across the world is huge, and growing. 

“Mead is said to be a 20,000 year-old beverage that originated in ancient Ethiopia and it’s incredible to see this drink, which has been around for so many years, be made relevant and cool again. Updated to suit the 21st-century consumer”. 

Already on the shelves of a number of New Zealand’s leading stockists, including Foodstuffs NZ stores, Farro Fresh and Moore Wilsons, the future for Borage and Bee looks bright. 

“We’re looking at exporting and where the best export opportunities lie. I would love to see mead being as well-known on shelves as a typical New Zealand cider or RTD, so it's all about driving consumer knowledge of the product. New Zealand honey and New Zealand alcohol are already highly sought after, so by pairing them together, we should be able to find some really awesome opportunities offshore”. 
Sprout is looking for start-ups with a disruptive idea in AgTech or FoodTech to join us for our 2022 Accelerator intake. Think you have what it takes? 
Find out more about our Sprout Accelerator.