Rolls-Royce’s tiny engineers create a sweet sensation
The car factory is closed, but there’s a real buzz around the home of the world’s most luxurious motoring brand
The car production line is closed, but a 250,000-strong workforce is creating a buzz at the home of the Rolls-Royce factory in Goodwood, UK.
That’s because the "Rolls-Royce of honey" is being produced at the company’s apiary by British bees that have returned to their workstations, oblivious to the Covid-19 lockdown.
In their third full season of production, the dedicated workers are set to exceed their 2020 volume targets, according to Rolls-Royce.
The firm’s tiniest engineers produce their sweet fare in miniature honeycomb factories constructed of mathematically-precise hexagonal cells that echo the meticulous attention to detail practiced by the luxury carmaker’s human craftsmen.
Having come through the British winter in reportedly excellent health, Rolls-Royce’s honey bees are emerging from their hives and sourcing their raw materials from the half-a-million trees, shrubs and wildflowers on the 42-acre Rolls-Royce site, plus the eight acres of sedum plants growing on the manufacturing plant’s "living roof" — the largest of its kind in the UK.
The Goodwood Apiary was established in 2017 and comprises six wooden beehives, each bearing a polished stainless steel nameplate. Five are named after the cars in Rolls-Royce’s current model range — "Phantom", "Wraith", "Ghost", "Dawn" and "Cullinan" — and the sixth is named after the marque’s "Spirit of Ecstasy" mascot.
Like the 2,000 human employees at Rolls-Royce, the bees are responsible for producing a rare and desirable product, says a Rolls-Royce spokesperson.
At the end of each season, the "Rolls-Royce of honey" is processed and served to guests of the luxury brand, including customers commissioning their cars in the company’s Atelier suite.
The apiary project is Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ response to the threat facing Britain’s honey bee population, where a shortage of suitable forage caused by habitat loss has put their numbers under pressure in recent years.
“The Apiary further underlines our commitment to the environment, which informs everything we do at Goodwood,” says Richard Carter, Director of Global Communications at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
“Our sustainable buildings, thermal ponds, rainwater management systems and wildfowl refuge have already made the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood one of the UK’s most eco-friendly manufacturing facilities.”