Getting To Know Our New Community Partner - Mountain Mead
Hi Jacob! So for starters, how did you get into making mead?
"We have both been into home brew for a long time, I started when I was in collage studying forestry. I did a lot of wine back then, more recently I had moved onto whole-grain beer. I enjoyed learning about the brewing process and how different variations on the same recipe gave different results.
I met Mike back in 2015 through a mutual friend. With three other friends we then set up "Shed Club" which involved going to each others houses every Wednesday night and carrying out jobs that needed doing (splitting logs, putting up shelves, fixing things etc) While doing this we would all compare our latest home brew creation, which usually ended up with us feeling a bit rough on a Thursday!
The business started back in 2016 while at Shed Club. Mike had made some mead, and I had never tried it. I tried it and thought it was lovely! We wanted the world to know how good mead is! We did a lot of research and experiments and in December 2016 we set up Mountain Mead Ltd."
And how has the business progressed since then?
"Since setting up the business we have been flat out, we can't produce enough of it. We are constantly experimenting with different honeys and flavours. The mead industry is growing at a fast rate and we're happy to be involved in it, it's very exciting. Me and Mike currently have day jobs that pay the bills, but are moving closer and closer to realising our dream of working on the mead full time.
We know that we have a quality product that people love to drink. People usually have a idea of what it will taste like before they try our meads, and are often quite surprised at the taste. As well as a sweet mead, as you'd expect, we have some dry meads that are similar to a white wine. We want everyone to know that mead doesn't have to be sweet and sickly, you can in fact have a glass of our Melyn Yr Eithin with your meal. It goes great with cheese!"
For the uninitiated, what is mead?
"Basically it's honey mixed with water and then fermented to create alcohol. There are variations of this e.g an acerglyn, where you add maple syrup to the honey instead of water. Acerglyns do not have to be sweet, it is possible to make a dry one.
Some of the bigger companies add 51% honey and the rest is sugar to save cost. The jury is out whether this can be called a mead! We only use honey, nothing but 100% honey in all of our meads."
And where does that all important honey come from?
Where is the mead made?
"We make everything at our meadery in Tregarth. We mix the honey, ferment, filter, bottle, cork and label everything on site."
And what do the different mead's names mean?
"All of our meads are bird names in Welsh. Every bird we name a mead after is on the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern in the UK. We want to highlight the threat that the birds and the bees are under by bringing awareness to them, especially in Wales."
What's your favourite of your meads to drink?
"Both of our favourites are the same, Grugair Ddu. We use an orange blossom honey and while its fermenting we add vanilla pods, cinnamon sticks and cloves. We initially did a small experimental batch but this sold out in just over a month. We have now ramped up production to keep up with demand, not just of this mead but all of the others as well."
What's next for Mountain Mead?
"Moving into a bigger premises! We are squeezed into our current building and could do with a lot more room so that we can produce a lot more mead! We want to be able to employ someone so that the business can keep growing."
What appeals to you about selling through STDAVIDS.WALES?
"They have high standards and morals, wanting to promote everything good about Wales and what we have to offer the world. They are supporting artisan producers of all sorts across Wales, helping to create jobs for local people and promoting the importance of the landscape we have."