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Rooftop Apiary: Party & Bee Awesome at the W Hotel

by evh on June 7, 2013


Fresh Honey Comb at the W Hotel

Is it possible for a major international corporation to have local sensibilities? Yes. The Austin based Whole Foods Corporation may have been a pioneer in this very idea nationally but many companies are realizing this business model works. Supporting the local environment and embracing the community has catapulted Austin’s W Hotel into a whole new category of cool. Sure, it’s loaded with great style, lovely decor and class but the W Hotel in downtown Austin has now reached a new level marvelous-ness. I think it first started when they hired the highly- talented (and stunning) Valerie Broussard –– who by the way, has one of the COOLEST jobs in town as “Forager” for the company –– and have to admit I have a slight crush on her, no … not in that kind of way but in a respectful, I-love-what-she’s-trying-to-do-in-this-town and for the setting-the-bar-high kind-of-way. With a background in all things culinary, along with CEO of Stratus Properties, Beau Armstrong, Broussard had a vision to bring as many local ideas, produce and ways of life as possible into the Trace Restaurant & Bar, AWAY Spa and Hotel. Working along side the amazing talents of Chef Lawrence Kocureck, Pastry Chef Janina O’Leary and F&B Manager Sean Bradshaw and the drink shaking specialist Joyce Garrison it was only fitting to bring in one more layer to the mix of talent, Walter Schumacher, to assemble a rooftop apiary.

Central Texas Bee Rescue is a non-profit organization committed to saving the dwindling honey bee population endangered by the increased use of pesticides and poisons. CTBR is headed by Walter Schumacher, who oversees both the maintenance of the hives and harvesting of the honey at the W Hotel apiary. Upon meeting the laid back, surfer looking guy, Schumacher, you can really sense his passion and love for his bee rescue services and honey making ideas. The process is fairly simple. He goes out and rescues “feral” bees (really, that’s what they are called), brings them to the rehabilitation center at Barton Creek, cleans up the hive and makes any repairs necessary, feeds them an organic smoothie of fresh fruits and helps them get strong again. “Bees are very social creatures,” says Schumacher, “and we are bringing them back into a healthy society the right way.” Once back on track, the bees are then rotated out from the Barton Creek location to the W Apiary and continue to feed off the organic smoothies (YUM!). They travel in a 1 1/2 mile flight pattern to the river and back around the building and anywhere from half a million to one million bees will be on the roof top at a time. Schumacher is very conscientious and mindful of the bees. “We don’t want to over work our bees, so we give them plenty of breaks and down time.” Meet Walter Schumacher and learn more about this buzzing program on the Local Savour Channel.

“This project benefits our organization as well as W Austin and the rest of the Block 21 project. One hundred percent of the profits from this apiary will go towards rescuing bees in our community, protecting their future and allowing our organization to be self-sustaining for years to come,” said Schumacher. In addition to the Block 21 honey, the W Austin also formed an internal “green team” recycling program that has made great strides towards the property goal of becoming a zero waste facility with plans to help pioneer this idea throughout the downtown area.

Got bees and need a rescue? Contact CTBR at: Honey Bee Kind

Want to check out the honey libations and nibbles? Put on your best black & yellow attire and go:

Bee-list party at the W Hotel

When: 6:30 p.m. June 13

Where: Trace restaurant patio and porch

What: Free party open to the public. Samples of W Austin cocktails and food featuring honey from the apiary will be available. Guests are encouraged to wear black and yellow.


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