A new meadery blossoms and gives back to the bees
By Bob Batz Jr. / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A meadery takes honey from bees, mixes it with water and ferments that into mead or honey wine (often with fruit and other flavorings). So it’s nice that a meadery is giving back something for the bees.
KingView Mead, a new small producer in Pleasant Hills, has launched its business, as well as a crowdfunding effort to boost it, while promising to give 10 percent of all sales as well as of donations to beekeepers, in the form of new hives and other equipment and bees. The beekeepers, from this region and beyond, don’t even need to be one of the meadery’s suppliers. They just need to sign up for the raffles.
Owner and head winemaker Scott Neeley says he believes in the “noble cause” of reversing the decline in honeybee populations.
“I’m trying to draw a lot of attention to the whole bee crisis and how good they are for the environment,” says Mr. Neeley, who took his amateur mead-making pro earlier this spring. He’s already given back eight hives in his unusual program, for which more than 100 beekeepers have signed up.
The first hive went to John Robison Jr., who runs Robison Acres Plant Sanctuary in Scenery Hill, Washington County. He used it to house a swarm of honey bees he captured, and he says they’re doing well. “I think this is a very generous offer by KingView, as beekeeping is expensive and it helps beekeepers overall.”
Clinton beekeeper Hank Brinzer, who’s looking forward to getting new equipment to update some of his 10 hives next spring says, “I think it’s wonderful.”
Mr. Neeley wants customers to feel good, too. So certain KingView bottles have bee beads on top that people can collect and display as part of the effort, which he says puts up to 400 bees into the world for every $1 he gives back.
He’s selling his meads via his website (to Pennsylvania residents), at festivals (such as the Aug. 14 Pittsburgh WineaPalooza) and other events, and to several local restaurants, including Hines Ward’s Vines in Seven Fields. (There’s a tasting event there from 5 to 8 p.m. on July 14.) He’s asking people to donate to his Kickstarter.com campaign so he can scale up faster and, eventually, build his own Grand Mead Hall somewhere in the Pittsburgh area.
Meadery Profile: KingView Mead