Show me the honey: Americans are going mad for mead

The growing thirst for mead in the US has seen the number of mead makers soar in America, with a new meadery opening every three days on average in the US.

A 2017 industry report compiled by the American Mead Makers Association found that the number of meaderies in the US has risen form just 30 in 2003 to 300 in early 2016.

The majority of American meaderies – 67% – have been open for less than five years, and that a growing number are making lower abv ‘session’ meads at under 7%, while just under a quarter also make cider.

The report found that a new meadery opens once a week around the world and that the mead category is one of the fastest growing alcohol sectors in the US.

A new meadery opens every three days on average in the US

As for styles, fruit meads (known as melomels) are the most popular in the US, but are closely followed by traditional meads made by fermenting honey and water. Encouragingly, 81% of the meaderies in the US source their honey locally.

Devon-based mead producer Lyme Bay Winery believes the mead momentum in the US will take hold in the UK, predicting that a craft-beer-like mead movement will soon hit Britain.

Londoners can get their mead fix at Gosnell’s in Peckham, the first meadery to open in the capital, while in New York you’ll find mead at Honey’s bar in Brooklyn made by Enlightenment Wines.

The drink’s appearance in popular TV show Game of Thrones has helped to boost its image and introduce honey wine to a younger audience.

Mead is one of the oldest alcoholic drinks in the world, with evidence suggesting that it was made in China as far back a 7,000 BC, while the writings of Greek philosopher Aristotle and Pliny the Elder of Rome include references to mead.

The word ‘mead’ has the same roots as many of the Slavic and Romance languages words for honey – ‘med’ in Russian and ‘miel’ in French.

In addition to traditional and fruit meads, craft meaderies are experimenting with sparkling meads, spiced meads and meads made with grapes as well as honey.

Ethopia has a long mead making tradition, where it is known as ‘tej’, and is one of the most popular drinks in the country enjoyed at tej houses.

The Vikings also have an association with mead, which was thought to turn the drinker into a seer with supernatural insight.

8 Responses to “Show me the honey: Americans are going mad for mead”

  1. Mark Palmer says:

    There’s a lot of great mead enthusiast web site out there as well such that have everything from mead reviews, meadery directory to recipes and discussion forums!

  2. Mike Faul says:

    Mead has been around in the US since at least the 1970’s. Several producers made ‘honey wine’ in addition to their standard grape wines. It wasn’t until 1994/5 when dedicated mead producers like Rabbit’s Foot Meadery introduces the country to a variety of different styles of mead. Back then there were perhaps 4 or 5 mead makers in the US. Now there are as many as 400.

  3. Melissa says:

    Companies like KingView Mead are producing some remarkable meads, they prove them out through awards and they actually donate hives to beekeepers directly with no contract for their honey.

  4. Greg Fischer says:

    Mead is the most sustainable wine on Earth. Every glass helps the Earth greo greener through supporting bees and their pollination of plants. At Wild Blossom Meadery in Chicago, we celebrate the bee work every day with a toast to flowers and bees.

  5. Mordeles says:

    I am a hydromelier in Brittany (France) and it is a very important product for us Celts.

  6. amina Harris says:

    Here at UC Davis, the Honey and Polllination Center in conjunction with the Department of Viticulture and Enology have been involved in helping educate long standing mead makers and to bring new mead makers to this wonderful beverage. Look for courses on our website at:

  7. maggie says:

    Afon Mel mead is by far the best quality mead I’ve tasted. They are a bee farm and produce 2 year old aged, traditional mead. I much prefer the taste of the traditional mead rather than the fruity wines.

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