I’m so excited to finally be able to share this with everyone. I’m bringing Bardic Brews Mead to the marketplace! We’re going to put the first batch (Cacao Mead, of course….) in soon, so the first bottles will be available later this summer (whenever they are ready).
I’m teaming up with Urban Farm Fermentory in order to make this happen. Starting an alcohol-producing business requires significant upfront investment, including legal fees to navigate the complex government documentation and licensure (alcohol is a heavily regulated substance), as well as in proper equipment to produce alcohol on a commercial scale.
UFF has already done all this. They are a fully licensed facility, with all the gear necessary for commercial fermentation. They’ve been doing quite a few ciders this past year, which have all been outstanding. Also, UFF was the site of the Lore And Craft Of Mead Workshop I did with Daniel Vitalis last year. We’ll be doing contract brews together, which avoids all these upfront expenses for me.
Here’s how it works: the mead will be made on the UFF’s premises, using their space and equipment, but using my recipes, ingredient specifications, and techniques. Eli has been making mead for several years now, so I’m sure I’ll learn a lot by taking my mead to the commercial scale with him. Each batch will be many times greater than what I’m used to in my small 3 gallon homebrews. I expect my brews to get even better in this enviroment, with regulated temperatures, state of the art gear (I wonder what aging my mead for 6 months in an oak barrel would do? Let’s find out!), and constant supervision. This is the thing I love about working with UFF: our missions and values are completely compatible and intertwined. We are committed to doing things the right way.
My commercial brews will hold to the same standard as my homebrews: we will use real wild-harvested spring water, the best honey available in Maine, and high quality, local, and wild ingredients. I’ll make teas where appropriate to start each batch, and will also use tincturing as the mead ages. The only difference will be the size of the carboys. :-D
For the first batch, Cacao is a natural choice, given that I’ve had a few successful brews with it, and that my wife is a chocolatier. I’ll definitely be picking her brain a bit on this. It will still use wild-harvested chaga tea as a base, along with the best quality raw cacao available. The quality of these ingredients is off the charts! And the price point will be very reasonable as well.
Sales, at first, will be local to Maine. Alcohol interstate commerce is quite complex; you need permits and licenses within each state you want to ship to, and some states are impossible to ship alcohol to under any circumstances. Bardic Brews Mead will always be available at the UFF itself in Portland, Maine, as well as other shops, bars, and restaurants in Maine.
We might consider doing a preorder for the first 100 bottles (possibly numbering them). Watch this space for more info on where to buy Bardic Brews Cacao Mead.
Lastly, this website will not change. We are still committed to education, and building awareness on meadmaking, homebrewing, and the best ingredients you can use. Indeed, this site continuing as it has been is essential to our strategy moving forward. If anything, we’ll be ramping this end of the equation up as the site continues to grow. We’ll still encourage people to make their own mead using ingredients in their area. But now, our mead will also be available commercially as well, giving consumers an opportunity to sample mead made our way without having to do it yourself.
But first, we have to make some mead. I’ll provide updates on this site in real time as we go through the process. And for now, I’ll pour myself some Prickly Pear Mead and start to settle down for the evening.