The Art of Bringing Mead Back in Fashion
Also known as the “world’s oldest drink” or “the drink of the Norse gods”, mead is an alcoholic beverage made from honey (most of the fermentable sugar is derived from this delicious product resulted from the bees).
But, if you’d think this is a beverage that used to be famous before people knew how to make quality wine, you’re mistaken. In fact, mead is making quite the comeback. You can find it in almost every country with an enterprising and curious beverage aficionado looking for something to put their establishments on the map!
As it turns out, Americans also seem to love this ancient beverage. They even have the American Mead Makers Association (AMMA). They have around 450 registered meadows (in 2020) and about 50 additional wineries and breweries, each making at least one mead in their product lineup.
Since the mead doesn’t have a classic recipe, its taste is different from one producer to another. Moreover, it’s fascinating to hear about making it, and it’s fun to imagine the process while tasting this sweet and fragrant delight.
But what exactly brought mead back in fashion?
As it turns out, two main factors influenced this comeback: urban (or backyard) beekeeping and the craft beverage industry.
The Increase in Urban Beekeeping
As people become more aware that bees get closer to extinction, combined with the oddity of a full year under constant threat from a pandemic that had us all confined at home, people seem to discover an old occupation: beekeeping.
It’s an activity that gives you peace of mind, allows you to connect with Mother Nature, and teaches you a lot about life and organization. Moreover, you can even take a beekeeping course online and learn everything you need to know about this activity.
Besides, making a home for bees is quite a rewarding activity. And, since it doesn’t occupy much space (a beehive is no larger than a wooden box), it can be done in one’s backyard or even on the rooftop of a building in the middle of the city.
As a result, bee populations seem to have bounced back, and we now have an increased interest in these tiny beings that help keep our planet alive. Moreover, it’s an activity that encourages socialising since there are many associations one can join.
Lastly, beekeeping lets you produce your own honey, which is a fantastic product that has a wide range of uses!
The Rise Of The Craft Beverage Industry
As people get to explore their culinary hobbies, they also had the chance to discover the experience of creating their own beverages (like beers, ciders, wines, and even gins). However, these are beverages that have periodically returned in fashion while mead is only making a comeback now, after hundreds of years.
Mead is known to be the drink of the ancients (Greeks, Vikings, Romans, Ethiopians, and so on) and is one of the beverages that are mentioned in a wide array of old documents and books (fictional or not).
As it turns out, the reason why it fell out of fashion is both economic (new tax laws and more difficult access to sugars) and natural (a drop in bee populations, which reduced the honey). But, modern times fixed most of the problems people had back in the 1700s (when the mead started disappearing from the market) and allowed individuals to rediscover the art of making this refined beverage.
In the end, mead may not become as mainstream as beer and wine, but it is going strong and doesn’t show signs of falling out of grace (just yet). As a result, the curious traveller now has the amazing chance of trying all sorts of mead recipes from all over the world!
Oli Kang is a working mum who has a passion for teaching and all things educational. With a background in marketing, Oli manages the digital channels and content at Courses AU.