Photo by Josh L. Smith

Mead for the Masses

The way Eric Allen sees it, somebody had to sell mead throughout Ohio.

The market is there. The demand is rising. So why not go all hometown on everybody’s asses and make sure that Ohio mead is really Columbus mead made with Columbus honey? Enter Brothers Drake Meadery and its ever-popular apple pie mead.

“Mead is a category in alcohol that’s really on the rise. Not enough people make it,” said co-owner Allen. “Most people use out-of-state or out-of-country honey.”

And rather than watch foreign honey and liquor invade the mead market, Allen and the other minds at Brothers Drake decided to expand their most popular concoction throughout the state.

“It was just something we never really planned on,” Allen said. “It’s awesome, it’s a wonderful thing.”

Yet here they are, expanding their once-exclusive mead to Cleveland and Cincinnati.

The meadery has been making more of its apple pie recipe every year, and the decision to expand came after it received an extra 1,000 gallons (or about 5,000 bottles) of apple cider. A farmer who had sold his cider to Ohio University in the past found that the college wasn’t interested anymore, so rather than let it go to waste, Brothers Drake stepped in and bought it all.

Mead is an ancient beverage that’s created by the fermentation of water (or in this case, apple cider) and honey. It’s similar to wine, and the seasonal apple pie concoction also has cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove tossed in to make it taste just like a pastry pulled out of the oven.

The apple pie recipe takes a year to make, and because of the seasonal nature of the cider, once it’s sold out it’s gone for the year.

As far as the expansion goes, some mead-lovers in Cleveland and Cincinnati are already fans of Brothers Drake and drive to Columbus specifically for it. For a lot of people, though, it’s a new experience.

And Allen said he’s not worried about getting the word out around the new Ohio cities.

“When it comes to marketing, what we believe in is making a quality product,” he said.

The mead will also be hitting shelves in smaller markets around the cities and will be on tap in a few restaurants as well.