Not so many years ago, even as recently as the mid-1800's, honey and beeswax were extremely valuable and vital commodities. Until the advent of refined table sugar, and the discovery and harnessing of electricity, honey was the only widely available sweetener and beeswax candles were the most common source of light across the globe. In many places people could pay their taxes with honey and/or beeswax.
Around 700 years ago, in Conwy, Wales, in the United Kingdom, during the reign of King Edward I, beekeepers were given the right to sell honey within the town walls on September 13th without having to pay any tax. This event be came an annual affair, and as the years passed friendly contests as to "who had the best honey" arose. Over the ensuing years, decades, and centuries those contests have evolved into the honey shows we know and love today!
Honey Shows have been popular in North America since the mid-1800's. As Americans, we take a great deal of pride in our heritage of independence and personal freedoms. That spirit led to a great deal of diversity in how honey contests were organized, administered, and judged over the years. Even today, no two honey shows are set up, run, or even judged exactly the same way.
The American consumer, as well as the producers who serve them, like consistency. We like to know what to expect when we purchase goods and produce. We like predictability, and being able to know what to expect. Those elements have been lacking in honey shows and honey contests in North America, largely because we are culturally so fiercely independent. Beekeepers who produce honey, beeswax, and other hive products want to know what to expect, and what the judges expect of them at the honey show. The solutions to this problem are uniformity and training.
In 2001, Dr. Keith Delaplane, Phd., brought the
Welsh Honey Judge training and certification program
to the United States from the United Kingdom. Michael
Young, MBE, was the architect of the Welsh Honey
Judge program, which is closely modeled after the
British National system of judging honey and hive
products. The Welsh Honey Judge training system has
been very popular in the United States, expanding
from Georgia to Florida, throughout the Southeast,
and now finding practitioners across the entire
breadth of the United States!
The American Honey Show Training Council is modeled closely after the Welsh Honey Judge training system. Practitioners
practitioners of the Welsh system of judging honey shows have long recognized the
enormous importance of emphasizing the
highest levels of consistency, skill, and
professionalism in their training and
The American Honey Show Training Council has been established to continue and build on this foundation, to provide a uniform and consistent system to train and certify professionally skilled honey show officials, and to develop and provide standardized training material and certification standards in the tradition of the Welsh Honey Judge training and certification program.