Rolls-Royce suspended production at its Goodwood, England, factory in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but there's at least one part of its business that's not affected by the temporary shutdown. The 250,000 bees that live and work near its factory are on track to set another production record in 2020.
The BeeMW-owned (sorry) firm opened its Bee Apiary in 2017. It currently consists of six hives named Phantom, Wraith, Ghost, Dawn, Cullinan, and Spirit of Ecstasy, respectively. Rolls-Royce announced the quarter-million bees that buzz around its premises emerged from winter in excellent health, and they're expected to make even more honey in 2020 than in 2019 (though Rolls-Royce didn't specify a quantity). Clearly, social distancing and work-from-home orders don't apply here.
Rolls-Royce works with local beekeepers to process the honey when it's ready, but don't look for it in the breakfast aisle the next time you're out buying groceries. It's exclusively served to the company's guests, like the customers who travel to Goodwood to configure or take delivery of a car. Put another way, a taste of Rolls-Royce-branded honey will cost you at least $300,000 and a round-trip ticket to the British countryside.
Surprisingly, the rivalry between Rolls-Royce and Bentley continues in the world of beekeeping. In 2019, Bentley built two giant hives for 120,000 bees near its headquarters in Crewe, England. It predicted they'd make about 33 pounds of honey annually, which amounts to about 50 jars. Ford keeps tens of thousands of bees, too; it's caring for at least 80,000 bees near the Rouge factory that currently manufactures the F-150.
Bees are an often-overlooked part of the ecosystem. Plants depend on pollination to reproduce, and bees are nature's main pollinators; we'd ultimately have less food if bees were eradicated from the planet. They're endangered in many parts of the world, which is why some automakers are choosing to give them a home.
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