Beekeeping has been growing in popularity for years, and for many logical reasons. Honey is a wildly popular commodity, beekeeping is not prohibitively expensive, and it has a lot of appeal as a hobby in general. However, when it comes to selling the harvested honey, there are quite a few questions and technicalities that can come up. This page should help to answer some of the major questions surrounding selling honey in Wisconsin. 



Licensing requirements vary depending on factors such as what percentage of your honey is sold wholesale and how much processing the honey goes through before sale. Depending on these factors, your honey production will fall into one of three categories: not requiring a license, requiring a retail license, or requiring a food processor license.
You do not need a license if ALL of the following apply: 
  • You extract, package and sell only your own honey from your own bees
  • You don’t process the honey or you process it only minimally by straining, heating, and/or making spun or creamed honey using starters from your own honey
  • You sell your products directly to your customers out of your home, over the internet, or from a farmer’s market. This includes commercial customers using your honey as an ingredient, such as a brewery.
  • Even if you do not need a license, you must meet the facility/equipment and labeling requirements mentioned later in this section.


You need a Retail License if: 

  • You gather honey from others for bottling, packaging or processing or
  • You process your own or others’ honey by adding color, flavors or other ingredients
  • To hold a retail license you must sell less than 25 percent of your products wholesale (to distributors rather than customers). Selling more than 25% of honey products wholesale requires a food processing license. 


You need a Food Processing License if:

  • You gather honey from others for bottling, packaging or processing or
  • You process your own or others’ honey by adding color, flavors or other ingredients and
  • You sell 25 percent or more of your product wholesale. 


Obtaining Licenses


Facility and Equipment Requirements

 These requirements apply even if you are not required to hold a license if you want to sell your honey.




These apply even if you do not need a license if you plan to sell your honey.


Label must include:  

  • Your name or your business name and address, including city, state, and ZIP code. You don’t need a street address as long as it’s available in the local phone directory.

  • Net weight of contents (contents only, not the container). For honey that you package uniformly, you need to list the weight in pounds/ounces and in metric measure. For products packaged in random weights, like comb honey, you can list the weight in either pounds/ounces or metric measure.

  • Grade, including the word “Ungraded” if that applies

  • Color of honey if it is Wisconsin No. 1

  • Ingredients, if you have added anything


You can label your honey by predominant flavor or main source if people in the business could clearly distinguish the flavor or source. You can’t name more than one flavor or source, or name the honey by season.​


Honey Grading

  • Honey grading means applying a set of established standards to your honey before you sell it, to indicate what quality the honey is and what attributes it may have. 

  • Honey grading is voluntary and sellers are not required to participate; however if any honey in a given year is sold as graded, the seller must sell all of the year’s product as graded.

    • There is only one exception: if graded honey was sold at a farmer’s market then ungraded honey may still be sold from the home. 

  • Honey may be graded according to Wisconsin standards or United States Department of Agriculture standards.


 Chapter ATCP 87 Wisconsin State Legislature's Administrative Code for honey and maple syrup