Pittsburgh Honey Has Its Family-Owned Business Swarming with a New Buzzworthy Food Market
by Reese Randall
June 16, 2021
When it comes to honey bees, Alyssa Fine and her husband Adam Revson, co-owners of Pittsburgh Honey in Squirrel Hill, know how to create some buzz. Sustainability is at the heart of their business creating culinary and handcrafted lifestyle products made from their pure and locally harvested honey.
“By offering pure and unaltered local honey we are providing customers with healthy and eco-friendly options,” says Revson. “They’re getting a trusted and sustainable product that's not been commercially infiltrated.”
Although Revson finds himself handling all aspects of the business, it’s Fine who really keeps things buzzing.
“Family history, Pennsylvania and American Honey Queen tenures, and beeswax skincare production aside, without Alyssa, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” says Revson. “Nor would we be where we are without our immensely supportive customers.”
The business of bees began more than thirty-five years ago with Alyssa’s father, Al, a beekeeper and his six beehives.
“That’s how Alyssa got into bees,” says Revson. "As a little girl she would tag along with her dad to farmer’s markets and to his ever-growing Fine Family Apiary in Monongahela (boasting almost 200 colonies now); and eventually, she was tasked to make skincare products with the left-over beeswax.”
Today, parents to their own five-year-old daughter Alex, Fine and Revson use everything and every part of the beehive in all of their products, including Fine’s beauty line of natural cosmetics, Abeille Beauté. “It’s French for honey bee beauty,” explains Revson.
Fine uses the honey and beeswax culled during the honey extraction to handcraft premium lotions, lip balms, body butters and moisturizers. “We have customers come into the store in tears to tell us we are making a difference for people with skin issues who have tried every kind of product,” says Revson. “It’s because they use our all-natural beeswax and it’s improving their health — and we’re proud of success stories like that.”
Another all-natural skincare product called MAN:Hands is a heavy-duty moisturizer.
“It’s effective and in general, just amazing. The properties do wonders,” says Revson.
The wonders of the honeybee are why Fine and Revson decided they would help educate people about bees.
“We built an observation hive in our store window,” says Revson. A real honeycomb hive is connected to a tube that leads to the outside; allowing the bees to fly inside and outside throughout the day. “People are amazed by the honeycomb,” says Revson. Customers can see the queen bee and the worker bees cleaning the cells while they’re making honey. “Basically, it’s the same honey we sell in the store. It’s a novelty that we’re in the city but you can walk in and see a bee in its natural habitat.”
When it’s too cold Revson rehomes the bees at their apiary until the warm weather returns. The apiary has been around for several decades.
“We had been selling our honey from the apiary at various places informally for years,” says Revson. Pittsburgh Honey is sold at the bookstore of Revson’s alma mater, CMU, as well as Whole Foods, East End Food Co-op and Wholey’s, just to name a few. Once Fine and Revson decided they would sell their product from their own store they opened Pittsburgh Honey on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill. That was four years ago. “It’s a lot of work from harvesting the honey; to marketing the business, all while running the store and allowing Alex — our busy little princess bee to help,” says Revson.
However, when the pandemic hit, it was a lot of work, but they kept the store open and safe for customers.
“Fortunately for us, our bees provide a service, we pollinate local farms and the honey has a homeopathic usage,” says Revson. “We decided to establish curbside pick-up and delivery; and oddly people began to call. We would start stealth-like deliveries at 5 p.m., run, drop off purchases on customer’s porches and dart back to our car, calling from our cell phone to let them know their package was outside.”
After fielding customer requests to pick up other grocery items and deliver them along with bottles of Pittsburgh Honey, it was then Fine and Revson were ready to expand into a more conventional store and sell groceries. They opened Squirrel Hill Market next door to Pittsburgh Honey this past fall.
“We try to carry the highest quality items such as BreadWorks, which we receive fresh daily — to half gallons of the beloved Penn State Berkey Creamery ice cream,” says Revson. The couple drive to State College, the location of Fine’s alma mater to stock the Market of the in-demand frozen treat that isn’t readily available for purchase anywhere in Pittsburgh.
“We also carry jams, jellies, and cheese; to pickles from Pittsburgh Pickle Co. in Verona and salt from the Steel City Salt Company in Etna,” says Revson. Although we are entering the post-pandemic era, Revson is adamant that if a customer prefers to stay at home out of convenience, or for various health reasons, Pittsburgh Honey and Squirrel Hill Market will continue to deliver.
Revson adds, “We’ll bring it to you. But, if you want to see a really cool beehive and shop in person you can do that, too.”
For more about Pittsburgh Honey, Squirrel Hill Market and Abeille Beauté, visit 2327 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill, 412-407-2705; pittsburghhoney.com