Going With the Flow….an Australian Success Story

Flow Hive 2 Araucaria 7 Frame honey harvest

Right now, as we are spending more time at home than ever before thanks to COVID-19, there are some silver linings if we look for them.  This is the perfect time to spend more time in the garden, or in the courtyard or balcony tending to our plants, bees and butterflies, creating your own little backyard eco-system.

Ever wondered what it would be like to have honey on tap directly from your very own beehive? Thanks to a couple of innovative Aussies the Flow Hive was invented and proudly made in Australia to make your honey-sweet dreams come true.  

Beekeeping is much more than a hobby these days. If you make the decision to help support the bee population anywhere in the world you are actually playing a key role in our ongoing food supply and in fact, helping to keep our environment as healthy as possible including safeguarding the future of the human species and others – because without the humble little bee-pollinator, much would be lost.

The invention of the Flow Hive has revolutionised the beekeeping industry as the Flow Hive contains Flow Frames that are a world first technology which allow the beekeeper to harvest honey straight from the hive without disturbing or hurting the bees.  This is regarded by many as the most significant advancement in beekeeping since 1852!

Where It All Began 

Flow Hive inventors, father Stuart and son Cedar

Beekeeping has been in the Anderson family for three generations – the father and son inventors, Stuart and Cedar Anderson have always had a love and respect for the bee and the natural world.

Cedar always felt bad about bees being crushed during the honey harvest. He also didn’t enjoy being stung and having to spend a whole week harvesting the honey from his small, semi-commercial apiary.

“The first idea was simply that there must be a better way, and I’d been thinking about that from a very young age,” says Cedar, who started keeping bees when he was just six years old.

For almost a decade, Cedar and Stuart worked away in their shed to find a way to harvest honey that was less stressful on the bees — and the beekeeper. 

After trialling many methods over the years, and finding nothing they were really happy with, eventually a “aha” moment occurred.

“I think Dad had had a few strong coffees that morning,” Cedar recalls.

“He held his hands together in a way that resembled a honey cell and then moved them, so the two halves were offset.”

“I knew straight away exactly what he was talking about,” Cedar says.

That was the morning the Flow honey harvesting system was born.

Months of experimentation led to a number of prototypes, a lot of trial and error, then friendly beekeepers trying out the designs.

The frames worked. Very well indeed. And it soon became clear that Stu and Cedar had something really special that was going to change beekeeping forever.

By the time the Flow Hive Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign was launched in February 2015, the teaser video had gone viral, and was instrumental in Flow Hive becoming one of the most successful campaigns ever launched.

At the time of launch, it was Indiegogo’s most successful campaign and the most successful campaign ever launched on any platform outside the United States, garnering over US$12.3 million in pre-orders in just six weeks. Their humble target of US$70,000 was reached in 177 seconds.

The media interest was staggering, with a feel-good story that practically wrote itself: An Aussie  father and son both struggling to make ends meet when they finally launch an invention they had been working on for 10 years – a beehive which delivers “honey on tap” – and become millionaires almost literally overnight.

Fast-forward to 2020, and there are now over 75,000 Flow Hives in use in more than 130 countries. Manufacturing and logistics processes have been optimised and the company now generally dispatch orders within 24 hours. Flow has won multiple awards for innovation, design, marketing and business including Good Design Australia, D&AD White Pencil, Fast Company World Changing Ideas, two medals at Apimondia International Beekeeping Congress and was declared NSW Business Chamber’s Business of the Year (2017).

Now, Cedar and Stuart are at the head of a company that has not only matured into a successful Australian exporter, but a prominent advocacy for bees and the natural environment. A global community of hundreds of thousands of people has sprung up around the idea of being kinder and more respectful to bees and taking better care of our local environment.

In December 2019 (during the UN Climate Change Conference, COP25, in Madrid), Flow joined with 500 companies around the world to accelerate reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions to reach net zero by 2030 — 20 years ahead of the 2050 targets set in the Paris Agreement. Flow’s sincere hope is that we can achieve net zero much sooner than the 2030 deadline.

In 2018, the company gained B Corp™ accreditation, which means meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

In 2018 the Flow Hive was re-designed and new features were developed. In early 2018 the Flow Hive 2 was launched; aimed at making beekeeping even more enjoyable and accessible. 

Flow Pollinator House
Flow Pollinator House

Continuing towards sustainable practices and pollinator advocacy, in 2017, Flow offered their first hive – a Pollinator House –aimed towards solitary-nesting bees, project which also supports habitat protection by donating 100% of profits to projects that support pollinators. The company  also launched a Pollinator Support Program in 2018, which funded 9 community selected pollinator related projects in the USA and Australia. This successful project is now run each year.

Beekeeping is a rewarding and enjoyable pastime. It’s a great way to observe the interconnectedness of the natural world and nurture your own guardianship of it.  To learn more about becoming a getting your own hive and becoming a beginner beekeeper, go here.