A look into the resurgence of this ancient drink and the man behind it.
by Carson Kohler
June 18, 2015 1:00 am
Johnathan Breuer extends his arm out the window of his dusty red Ford Ranger. A cigarette rests in his fingertips. He wears a checkered cabbie hat, and tufts of dark brown hair peek out from underneath it. His beard is bushy. His mustache is thick. Both are slightly grizzled. His Carhartt vest and tan skin reflect the look of a man who spends time outdoors.
The unlatched hood of his pickup bounces as he travels down the gravel road at Oak Spirit Sanctuary near Boonville. A “Trees are the answer” bumper sticker is haphazardly placed on his tailgate. The truck sloshes through puddles on an overcast April afternoon.
Breuer, 30, is headed to one of three natural beehives he discovered on the sanctuary over the past few years. He first noticed the low buzz of the bees in a tree he estimates to be 350 years old. Since then, he’s returned dozens of times to sit in the shade and commune with the bees.
West of Oak Spirit Sanctuary is 210 acres of undeveloped land Breuer bought this year. He plans to develop the space into a harmonious ecosystem where visitors can see how bees, birds and even bats live in unison. At its heart will be more than 600 active beehives. The honey they produce will serve as the raw material for Breuer’s ultimate vision: Norseman’s Hall Meadery.
Breuer hopes to open Norseman’s Hall by this September. Once he does, it will be the second meadery in the state and the first in mid-Missouri. The honey-based alcoholic drink dates back to 7000 B.C. Its modern use has largely been relegated to Renaissance festivals. Imagine: a goblet in one hand, a turkey leg in the other and a jousting game ahead.
Full Story: The emergence of mid-Missouri Mead