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Bitcoin and Honey: The Buzz About a Local Queenstown Honey Company Accepting Bitcoin.

Neal McAloon is the founder of Bee the Change, a Queenstown-based boutique honey company providing locally-flavoured honey as well as apiculture and environmental education and workshops, all while accepting Bitcoin for payment.

Neal McAloon moved to Queenstown from Ireland in 2011. With a background in outdoor education he worked as a guide for many years. Unfortunately a ski accident set him back, but during his recovery he found himself studying Apiculture.

“I have always had an interest and curiosity in our natural world, and both my passions are connected with beekeeping,” says Neal.

Neal started Bee the Change in the winter of 2019, and now sells boutique honey and uses apiculture as a medium for environmental education, alongside formally teaching beekeeping at Otago Polytechnic.


Neal has come up with an ingenious business model of sponsored beehives. Local businesses can purchase a spot in the iconic locations such as Queenstown Botanical Gardens and put their logo on the boxes. 

Sponsors include local breweries and hospitality businesses such as Altitude Breweries and The World Bar, bespoke accommodation providers, all the way through to tech businesses such Ones and Zeros.

“The sponsorship model allows me to build more beehives and to put in educational signage alongside the beehives,” Neal says.

“I teach Apiculture (at the Polytechnic), but also do a lot of educational work at schools and kindergartens. It is great to talk to local kids about the environment and how they can impact it positively.”

More broadly Bee the Change is part of a growing interest in locally-produced food. 

“There is a real interest in locally produced food now. Our food resilience in the district is tenuous. It does not take much to knock the food chains out such as after the cyclones. Every week 750 palettes of food get brought into Queenstown. This is not good. I am finding restaurants and chefs are getting behind the idea of locally produced food.”


Accepting Bitcoin

Neal accepts Bitcoin for purchases of honey through his website. Using Shopify he was able to easily get set up using a Bitcoin payment integration.

“We have only just started accepting Bitcoin but have already sold our first kilogram of honey to a Bitcoin customer. It seems to be quite easy for people to use. There is definitely a Bitcoin community that is excited and supportive, and willing to spend their Bitcoin at local businesses.”

“Having options is good, I like not being quite limited by one currency. The decentralisation model of Bitcoin is important to me. In the 2008 Global Financial Crisis we saw where the bank’s priorities are. I was working in Ireland at the time, then all of a sudden my paycheck arrived and a whole bunch had been taken as an “income levy” to basically bail out the banks.”

Alongside his online shop, Neal also sells to a bespoke supermarket in Queenstown, and Kiwi Park has a honey shop that sells to the visitor market.

“The really great thing about this honey is that you can see the very plants that your honey came from in places like the Queenstown Botanic Garden.”


Beekeeping is not without its challenges. Veroa Mite has been causing massive issues in New Zealand and globally. The control costs of Veroa Mite can be high. 

As a small local food producer, Neal said access to the market to sell can also be a challenge. The supermarket duopoly takes a massive cut and there are quite a lot of requirements. Compliance can also be a challenge which is a sentiment shared by a lot of small food producers.


Wakatipu Forest Trust is a location for many of Bee the Change’s hives, and so for every kg of honey sold $1 is donated to the trust. As Neal says, “The idea of a circular and sustainable economy is important to me.” 

Visit & Contact

See Bee The Change Website

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