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Strawberry/Rhubarb (from left), Dry Hopped Blueberry, Apricot, Black Currant, Cherry and another Strawberry/Rhubarb Mead is offered in a flight at New Day Meadery. (Photo: Matt Detrich/The Star)
Strawberry/Rhubarb (from left), Dry Hopped Blueberry, Apricot, Black Currant, Cherry and another Strawberry/Rhubarb Mead is offered in a flight at New Day Meadery. (Photo: Matt Detrich/The Star)

Is mead Indy’s next craft beverage obsession?

Liz Biro,
IndyStar.com
3:38 p.m. EDT October 2, 2014

What may be the oldest drink in the world is the newest thing at the bar.

No, it’s not water. It’s mead, a honey-based spirit dating so far back into antiquity that historians consider it the mother of all alcoholic beverages.

You might vaguely remember seeing mead mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” Maybe you recall it from “The Cantebury Tales” that Chaucer-obsessed high school English teacher forced you to read.

Mead was hot in the Middle Ages. Archeologists document evidence of mead’s existence as long ago as 7000 BC. Historians speculate that shortly after humans discovered bee hives, they realized honey mixed with water and left to sit would at some point become happy juice.

If, like many people, you’ve never heard of mead, prepare to be clued-in.

Mead sales have exploded, jumping 130 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to the American Mead Makers Association. Yes, there’s an association, founded in 2011 because mead sales were rising so rapidly, eclipsing the growth of craft beer by some estimations.

“It’s taken off like wildfire,” Tia Agnew said.

Agnew and her husband, Brett Canaday, own New Day, a craft mead and cider operation in Indianapolis’ Fountain Square neighborhood. The couple started making mead around 2000 as way to use up the 500 pounds of honey that the hives on Canaday’s Elwood family farm were producing

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