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The Recent Rise Of Mead
Despite what you might think with craft breweries and distilleries cropping up on more and more street corners in more and more cities, that these are the drinks people prefer – but the truth is mead (honey wine) is the fastest-growing adult beverage on the market. Mead popularity is growing faster than any other class of tipple, including wine, beer or spirits.
This should come as no surprise. Mead was, at one time, the most popular drink in the world.
It was only in the past couple of decades that any mead was made commercially, outside of a few markets around the world. For the most part, it was a forgotten drink that aroused curiosity but didn’t make enough sense to produce on any sort of scale outside of home brewing. After all, wine, beer and spirits were essentially the dominant drinks on a global scale not only for much of the 20th century, but also for much of the past millennia.
However, a few small operations here and a few small operations there gave mead a chance, and started producing honey wines. A few of them started attracting a following and regular customers. A few more regular customers followed, then a few more meaderies, until it started appearing in more stores.
By 2010, mead sales began gathering serious steam for what was regarded as a niche beverage. Between 2011 and 2014, according to Thrillist, the American Mead Maker’s Association reported mead sales had grown 130 percent. Craft beer sales in that period grew just 39 percent, and wine sales a scant 6 percent.
Since the dawn of the 21st century, a few dozen mead producers in the United States have grown to more than 300. Clearly, the drink is catching fire.
Mead In Movies
It’s suspected that mead in movies and television programs has stimulated at least part of the interest in mead in recent years. Whilst this isn’t solely the reason, it certain couldn’t have hurt. Period action films such as “Beowulf,” “Eaters of the Dead” and the 2010 version of “Robin Hood” (the one with Russell Crowe, not Kevin Costner) all featured mead.
According to Quartz.com, the HBO smash-hit “Game of Thrones” has also stimulated a certain amount of interest in mead. This is odd, given that mead isn’t really featured in the show at all (most characters drink wine or ale) nor the books to a great extent, if at all, so it’s odd that any interest would be drummed up from either series. However, if it gets people drinking mead…valar dohaeris.
Food trends can and are certainly inspired by film and television, so mead wouldn’t be the first product to get a boost from a bit of product placement. However, enthusiasm for mead doesn’t wane between movies that feature mead drinking…so people may be trying it because of a TV show or movie, but keep drinking it because they love the taste.
Who could blame them?
Mead Industry To Keep Growing
As mead becomes increasingly popular, the mead industry will only continue to grow. As it stands now, it’s only certain parts of America and certain parts of the rest of the world where a person can find mead in a local shop. Being able to find more than one brand is certainly a feat in many markets and a lot of people aren’t likely to find a bottle of mead in their local grocer’s…yet.
Should mead popularity continue to grow, it may not be too long before a person IS able to find a bottle or two regularly down at the local. They may begin to see multiple bottles from multiple brands.
After all, it wasn’t that long ago when craft beer was something only homebrewers were aware of. It’s only a matter of time before mead is just as available.