Raising honeybees was a natural business of choice for Mr. Luke Deogracias D. Macababbad, especially since he had always harbored a love and fascination for bee farming. Not to mention, of course, that raising bees requires minimal space and time and are non-pollutants. Honeybees even help balance the ecosystem because of their important role in the pollination process.
Mr. Macababbad wasn’t even thinking of going into a formal business involving bees when he bought his first four colonies of honeybees. “Ang aim ko lang naman noon ay magkaroon kami ng honey para mayroon kaming magamit dito sa bahay.”
But the bees produced more honey than what Mr. Macababbad and his family needed. He was able to harvest 100 kilos of honey during the first yield. The decision on what to do with the excess honey came easy when his father-in-law, who had experience with wine-making abroad, talked about the possibilities of producing honey wine.
With the decision made, Dielle’s Apiary and Meadery took its bow in the highly competitive and constantly evolving world of wine making.
Dielle's Apiary and Meadery Inc. is a producer of honey, honey wine (mead), and melomel, an alcoholic beverage produced through fermentation of honey and tropical fruits. Its wine initially had 4 different variants, namely wild berry (bignay), Philippine plum (duhat), mango, and mead.
It took several experimentations before Dielle’s was able to perfect its mead or honey wine. Being the first of its kind in the Philippines, Dielle’s honey wine soon captured the taste, not just of Filipinos, but of foreigners as well. The demand for the honey wine increased, so Mr. Macababbad sought DOST-NCR’s assistance to upgrade his production capacity and product quality.
Under the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), Dielle’s availed of S&T services such as Cleaner Production Assessment, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Food Safety Assessment, Plant Layout Assistance, Packaging and Labelling Design and Development, and Lean Management for MSMEs from 2009 to 2018. The company was also provided with innovation fund for the procurement of the appropriate equipment to aid in their production.
The DOST assistance on packaging and labelling design development helped them to design a unique product label and logo that passed the mandatory labelling requirements and greatly improved the packaging design of the product. With the new label design and packaging provided by DOST, the company was able to promote their honey wine products in trade fairs and bazaars, receiving a lot of orders in the process. They were also able to establish their own kiosk in Festival Mall, Alabang.
As a micro enterprise and a developing company, Dielle’s also encountered problems in acquiring food-grade equipment and bottles, which resulted in a shortened product shelf life for their products. Wine is supposed to taste better as it ages, but that wasn’t the case for the company back then. Their wine turned into vinegar because of contamination due to the improvised wine fermentation and aging tanks, and unsanitary production process. The filling process they initially used was also inefficient and unhygienic, using only a pitcher and a funnel to transfer an estimated amount of wine to a bottle. Since availing of DOST’s Food Safety Consultancy, Dielle’s learned the proper handling and processing of the product to prolong the shelf life. The clarity and quality of the wine improved and complied with the industry standards of wine production. More important, the company has now established a standardized taste for its wines.
Dielle’s also availed of the Plant Layout Assistance upgrading their backyard setup to a significantly-improved GMP-compliant production facility. Further, as a result of DOST-NCR’s S&T assistance, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted them the License to Operate (LTO) in 2013 and the Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) in 2018.
Today, Dielle’s Apiary and Meadery Enterprises prides itself in being one of the most successful clients of DOST-NCR under SETUP. It has grown from a 50 sqm backyard enterprise to a 150 sqm small enterprise. The company’s production increased from 100 bottles of wine per day in 2008 before SETUP intervention, to 1,000 bottles per day by 2018. The public has since become more familiar with their products, leading to an increase of 1,714% in sales from 2008 to 2018. Moreover, Mr. Macababbad’s bee farm has expanded from his house in Muntinlupa, to Batangas City, Lipa City, Tanawan City, and in Cavite. Twenty more variants were also added to the original four, including mangosteen, guango (guava and mango mix), dragon fruit, chili, and coffee.
As part of their product line expansion, they also ventured into manufacturing honey wine vinegar by processing fruit wastes from their honey wine production using the DOST-developed Vinegar Acetator.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
Dielle’s Meadery and Apiary’s constant initiatives to innovate and improve their products resulted to several awards and recognitions to acknowledge their excellence as a company. In 2017, Dielle’s was awarded the Micro Enterprise Excellence Award by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Indusry-NCR (PCCI-NCR) and a Muntinlupa Centennial Commemorative Award by the City of Muntinlupa.
In July this year, they were hailed as DOST-NCR’s Best SETUP Adoptor for 2019 and won as the National Winner of the Packaging Innovation Award at the National Science and Technology Week celebration held at the World Trade Center, Pasay City on July 21.
“Marami pong salamat sa inyong lahat. Ito pong pagakakataon na ibinigay sa amin ay napakahalaga, sapagkat hindi lamang para sa akin, hindi lamang sa kumpanya namin, kundi sa komunidad na rin. Sapagkat ang komunidad at kami ay tulong-tulong para mapalago ang aming kabuhayan. Gayun din, mayroon kaming maibabahagi sa kanila. Ang lahat ng ito ay dahil sa tulong ng DOST na walang sawang maglingkod, magbigay ng kaalaman, at magbigay ng pagpapahalaga sa mga MSME na katulad namin,” Mr. Macababbad concluded.