Kallas Honey Farm began in 1941 when John Kallas developed an interest in bee keeping while helping a neighbor in Fox Point, Wisconsin tend to his hobby hive. As payment for Kallas' effort, the neighbor gave him a hive. In only a few years, Kallas had close to 100 hives and a small processing operation. He enlisted his sons James and Gerald to help him sell the family's honey through door-to-door sales calls, farmers' market, and county fairs. Later, James and his dad expanded the business by tapping into the retail market, first negotiating with tiny mom-and-pop grocers, then pairing up with bigger supermarkets.
By 1955, Kallas Honey Farm had almost 1,000 hives scattered across Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Washington counties in Wisconsin. When demand for the honey increased, Kallas had to start buying honey from other local producers in order to fill their own orders. In the early '70s, the family decided to abandon beekeeping completely in order to concentrate on the processing, packaging, marketing, and distribution of their honey.
Kallas Honey Farm is now steered by the third generation of Kallas men: James' sons Perry, who is in charge of operations, and Peter, who is currently in charge of sales and distribution. Kallas Honey Farm packages approximately 2 million pounds of honey a year. They work from a 30,000-square-foot facility on Douglas Avenue in Milwaukee that houses the farm's administrative offices, as well as the storage and packaging areas.