Mead is the fastest growing sector of the alcohol industry. Find out why the ancient honey drink is making a comeback.
By Sam Levin
East Bay Express
Tens of thousands of years ago, the hunters and gatherers of the Paleolithic Age discovered that beehives produce honey. Soon after, they started storing the sweet, syrupy liquid in their water bags. Wild yeast in the air eventually caused the honey in these bags to ferment — a process that inadvertently produced what might have been the first-ever alcoholic beverage.
That is, at least, how Dan Cook imagines humans first stumbled upon mead. “Whoever owned that bag probably became the shaman of the tribe,” said Cook, who runs The Mead Kitchen (2323 Fourth St., Berkeley). “It was like magic.”
While mead may be the oldest drink known to mankind — Cook said there’s archaeological evidence that it was produced in ancient times — the drink has become increasingly popular in recent years. In fact, mead makers across the country say the honey brew is experiencing a revival, and the Bay Area is no exception.
In addition to new commercial meaderies that are manufacturing and selling their meads regionally, such as The Mead Kitchen and the San Francisco Mead Company (1180 Shafter Ave.) in the Bayview neighborhood, Bay Area homebrewers say they are increasingly experimenting with mead making.
Full Story: The New Mead Market in the Bay Area