Georgia Magazine - March 2018 - 16
Another sweet old song
Mead production takes off in Georgia
BY JANE F. GARVEY
COURTESY MONKS MEAD
'Mead is a long-lost art,
not well-known here in
the United States. We're
really starting to learn
about this stuff, even
though it's the oldest
manager, Savannah Bee Co.
n 1974, Peter Allen and Carol
Bayer Sager released a tune with
lyrics that could apply to mead:
"Everything old is new again."
Mead, said to be the oldest fermented beverage known to man, is
a fermentation of honey, water and
sometimes flavorings, such as fruits,
spices or even grains and hops.
Mead, like wine, ranges widely in
alcohol content, from as low as
3.5 percent to more than 20 percent.
It may be still or sparkling and dry,
medium-dry or sweet.
While the beverage had fallen
from grace, it's making a strong
comeback across the United States,
including in Georgia. Major competitions are devoted to judging mead
all over the country. Locally, The
Domras Cup-held in Savannah-
recognizes homebrew mead-makers,
and the Georgia Trustees Wine
Challenge has a category for commercially available meads.
In a little more than six years,
Georgia has gone from a single
meadery-Monks Mead, founded
in 2011 in Atlanta-to a half-dozen
commercial, licensed operations,
with at least one more in development. In addition, several wineries are making mead: Dahlonega's
Accent Cellars, in cooperation with
Chateau Meichtry in Talking Rock;
Bell Farms Rabbit Eye Winery in
Bristol; Sweet Acre Farms Winery
in Alto; and Still Pond Vineyards
in Arlington. Craig Boyd, the new
winemaker at Montaluce Winery
near Dahlonega, plans to relaunch
the sparkling mead that Montaluce
used to make. And Jabe Hilson of
Noble Wine Cellar in Clayton works
with Blue Haven Bee Co. in Canon
to make its Southern Origin meads.
Though Savannah Bee Co.
makes its meads out of state (at Redstone Meadery in Boulder, Colo., and
at St. Ambrose Meadery in Beulah,
Mich.), it sells 26 meads and offers
them at its mead-tasting bars in and
near Savannah, in Atlanta and in
"Mead is a long-lost art, not wellknown here in the United States,"
says Kenneth Jenkinson, a certified
mead judge through the Beer Judge
Certification Program and manager
for Savannah Bee Co., who also
makes his own meads. "We're really
starting to learn about this stuff, even
though it's the oldest alcohol."
Homebrewing beer led longtime
chums Justin Schoendorf and Martin
Key to start Monks Mead, which
Schoendorf says is Georgia's first
meadery. Monks Mead's Peachin' to
the Choir, made with peach and tea,
and Temperance, using wildflower
honey, both won bronze medals
at the 2017 Georgia Trustees Wine
Challenge in Kennesaw in August.
The meads are available at retail
outlets and restaurants.
Sixth-grade math teacher Derek
Piper also got involved in mead after
homebrewing beer. He founded BeeCraft Mead Co. in Dawsonville.
"I've been making mead since
More online at www.georgiamagazine.org
Meaderies on the rise