Drink Mead, Save Bees
The ancient beverage has some surprisingly modern benefits.
Tales of the Cocktail
Mark Oberle relies on a team of 10 million bees to produce mead for Meadiocrity.
Making honey wine would be impossible without “the girls” in his beehives and, without the meadery, the bee population in Escondido, California, would be down by 150 beehives. And, as the buzz over the honey-based beverage continues growing, Oberle, founder and mead-maker at Meadiocrity, will need even more “workers” to keep up with the demand.
“We wouldn’t be in business without bees,” Oberle says.
Mead is believed to be the oldest alcoholic libation, the drink of Vikings and medieval knights. It’s often referred to as honey wine and it does share similarities to grape wine, including multiple sweetness levels from sweet to dry, but it can also be fermented with ingredients more commonly associated with beer, such as hops and grains. Regardless of the brewing style, honey is always the base ingredient in mead. It can take up to three pounds of honey to produce a single gallon of mead.
The ancient beverage is making a comeback. There are more than 400 mead producers in the U.S., up from just 30 in 2003, according to the American Mead Makers Association and keeping up with the demand requires ever-increasing amounts of honey.
Mead-makers are skipping cheaper, imported honey (often cut with high fructose corn syrup) in favor of sourcing pure honey directly from beekeepers. As bee populations decline thanks to disease, pests and Colony Collapse Disorder, mead creates a demand for local honey and new incentives to raise bees, helping increase pollinator populations.
“The resurgence of mead has coincided with the awareness of the plight of bees and its popularity can only help bees,” says Oberle.
Full Story: Drink Mead, Save Bees
Meadery Profile: Meadiocrity Mead