by Crain’s Chicago Business
Could mead become the next big craft beverage? Greg Fischer, president of Wild Blossom Meadery & Winery in Beverly, hopes so.
Fischer, 54, is more than quadrupling the size of Chicago’s only commercial meadery. In mid-May he closed on a vacant 9,000-square-foot building at 91st St. and Hermitage Ave., formerly a construction company. Unlike his current 2,000-square- foot location, which is zoned dry, the new facility will allow him to get a liquor license to sell mead retail.
“We’ve outgrown our present home five times over,” says Fischer, who estimates his annual production of mead, the alcoholic drink made by fermenting honey with yeast, has grown from 500 gallons in 2001 to more than 4,000 gallons last year. He makes about 20 kinds of mead, including a traditional dry Blanc de Fleurs and sweet Prairie Passion, fruit meads such as raspberry peach, cyser (a blend of mead and hard apple cider) and Sweet Desire, which is fermented and aged in a bourbon cask for at least a year. They all start with honey from Wild Blossom’s 110 hives at half-a-dozen locations ranging from the roof of the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile to the Ogden Dunes in Indiana, with 15 at the new site.
Fischer says his mead sales have increased to $300,000 to $400,000 annually from when he started in 2001. Ninety-five percent of sales are wholesale, sold directly and self-distributed to retailers, such as Binny’s Beverage Depot and Whole Foods, and restaurants Farmhouse and Uncommon Ground. The rest is sold through the web site.
Full Story: This guy is betting on the popularity of mead
Profile: Wild Blossom Meadery & Winery
Mead Reviews: Wild Blossom Meadery & Winery