Brewer on a mission for mead
by Jesse Hollett
ORANGE PARK, FL – There’s something ancient brewing in Orange Park.
John Harris’ home off Milwaukee Avenue sits in a housing development studded with finely manicured lawns, birdbaths and a white picket fence. At first, the structure blends into residential camouflage.
Go out back, however, and the suburban façade drains away to sparkling machinery as Harris’ $60,000 mead brewery touches the pitched roof of his garage’s ceiling.
Established in June 2016, Harris Meadery is the culmination of long talks with the town to convert his house’s zoning to facilitate an operational brewery for mead, essentially the alcoholic intermediary between craft beer and wine made from fermented honey.
“It’s the world’s oldest fermentable beverage,” Harris said. “It’s over 8,000 years old – any culture that has contact with honey and beekeeping has naturally discovered mead all on their own.”
He jokingly theorizes that civilization first discovered mead when they discovered drunk bears. Still, mead is an alcoholic beverage and the town’s agreement with Harris came with a caveat – do not sell alcohol on site.
Despite the challenges, with bare bones equipment, Harris Meadery currently distributes its flagship meads to roughly 60 different vendors between Clay, Duval County and Georgia.
Full Story: Brewer on a mission for mead
Meadery Profile: Harris Meadery