Thursday, November 06, 2014
Mead is one of humanity’s most ancient beverages, dating back millennia before the birth of Christ, possibly even before the invention of agriculture. It was downed in ancient Greece and Viking lands, brewed at monasteries and celebrated in mythology, folktales and poetry throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.
Now the honey-based brew is making a comeback — sales were up 130 percent last year. Allentown’s The Colony Meadery is growing in tandem with its namesake product, racking up awards and fast establishing itself as a major brewer.
The company was established barely a year ago when Greg Heller-LaBelle, a onetime beverage writer, tasted “Mo-Me-Doh,” a mead created by accomplished homebrewer Mike Manning at a beer tasting. The pair calculated that thanks to the craft beer boom, “the market was ready for some new flavors,” recalls Heller-LaBelle.
With sales running 100 percent ahead of projections, Colony is already gearing up for expansion. The meadery is taking an additional 2,000 square feet at the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, “which will allow us to triple our capacity and renovate our tasting room in the coming months, as well as install [specialized brewing equipment] for carbonating mead,” explains Heller-LaBelle.