By Marc Bona, cleveland.com
MOGADORE, Ohio – Older homes, a few roadside taverns and assorted businesses sit scattered on an otherwise sleepy stretch of Ohio 43. But one business nestled in the area is growing and looking to expand: Crafted Artisan Meadery.
Kent Waldeck’s four-year-old meadery has grown each year it has been in existence. Waldeck, who has a staff of about nine full-time and part-time employees, is looking to move to two locations: One for a production facility and another to add a mead-cider-type bar. (“A mead pub? A co-op? I don’t even know what to call it,” he says.)
With distribution in 12 states and several more in the works, and 40 percent of its sales via draft, Crafted Artisan Meadery’s sales are up over 100 percent in Ohio, he said.
Two years ago, the meadery’s garage held a few boxes and some equipment. Now it resembles more of a small, organized warehouse, with pallets, tanks, barrels and boxes taking up most of the space.
“We’ve been growing like wildfire,” said Waldeck, who added sales are doubling every year. (Like the owner’s beard, close shorn a few years ago to a full brewer’s growth today.)
Waldeck tries not to have his mead get lost in the craft-beer shuffle, with taps and shelves and new releases coming at a furious pace. Bottles of mead, which is made with honey, often are sold alongside craft beer in stores, and have their own separate listing on bar menus. But the public’s perception teeters between beer and wine.
The meadery’s steady growth appears to be a necessity because, as Waldeck puts it, the market is “a challenge, as craft beer gets more densely populated on shelves.”
Meadery Profile: Crafted Artisan Meadery