Mark Pillar won 12 awards at the Ekka for his honey.
Mark Pillar won 12 awards at the Ekka for his honey. Michael Nolan

Veteran honey producer bags 12 awards but is hungry for more

VETERAN Southern Downs honey producer Mark Pillar tasted sweet success at the Ekka this year and it's left him hungry for more.

He beat a swarm of 50 top Queensland producers to win 12 awards.

They include four first place ribbons for the cut comb, dark honey, comb and light honey, and the frame of comb sections.

He won second place in the golden honey, light honey, cream honey, and frame of comb sections.

Mr Pillar said the cut comb wins were the most satisfying having missed out on a top award at the International Bee Congress back in June.

"Your cut comb section is really the hardest, they judge it on the evenness of comb, the squareness of your cuts, whiteness and evenness of the wax,”

"I could spend an hour or so mucking around and cutting the comb, you cut it out bigger and then slice it to try and get it square.”

This focus on edging was Mr Pillar's undoing.

"It has to be a minimum of 250g per piece but at the International Congress I cut too much out and I got disqualified.”

Mark Pillar won 12 awards at the Ekka for his honey.
Mark Pillar won 12 awards at the Ekka for his honey. Michael Nolan

The wins at the Ekka corrected this past mistake and have created some marketing buzz around Mr Pillar's product.

"It allows you to fly the flag a bit and the effort that you put into it does pay off for your sales,” he said.

Annually Mr Pillar and his bees will produce about 26 tonnes of honey, most of which is sold to Capilano.

While the 12 awards are welcome, Mr Pillar narrowly missed out on Grand Champion Honey title.

He lost to fellow Warwick producer John Craig.

"He beat me by two points,” Mr Pillar said.

This slim defeat stirred up his competitive side.

"I was going to give up if I got the Grand Champion of the show down there this year but I'll have another go next year or I might step right out and go to the Royal Sydney Show,” he said.

"But it's a lot of mucking around just for a certificate and a story.”