A small New Hampshire winery is creating an exciting resurgence of artisanal mead, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and water. Woven throughout Norse mythology, and made famous in the classic tale of Beowulf, mead has been consumed by gods and warriors for centuries.
Michael Fairbrother, a former software executive, rediscovered mead after experimenting with craft brewing at home. He noticed women gravitating to the bottles of mead he brought to a homebrew party, and he began hatching a business idea. What if mead was mass produced and marketed to women? After all, the craft beer industry had totally overlooked women in their marketing and packaging strategies over the last decade. Perhaps mead would fill a gap in the over $200 billion alcohol beverage market.
He entered several contests and began collecting coveted gold medals – including Mead Maker of the Year, for 3 consecutive years, at the New England Regional Homebrew Competition – in addition to a Best in Show out of 353 entries in 2009. He attended the Brewers Association Craft Brewers Conference in Boston where he met many professional brewers. One took him aside and said, “How can you possibly think you can do something you love part time?” Michael went home, built a business plan, and in 2010, while still working his day job, began producing mead and selling it across the state. Bolstered by his win – and the sage advice of a professional brewer – he went into production, sold out of his entire inventory in one day, and quit his corporate job the next morning.
Now, Moonlight Meadery is pouring over 10,000 tasting cups of mead each year during tours of their brewing facility. The Meadery offers tastings of approximately 35 types of mead ranging from semi-dry to sweet, and distributes both locally and internationally. In fact, as a world class Mead Master, Michael is in steady demand to give lectures on his process. “It’s been both a professional and personal learning experience for us,” Michael says. “Bringing an historic product into the modern world has been quite a journey.”
Most recently, Moonlight Meadery has increased their portfolio by adding commercial ciders and braggots (mead with malt), the closest mead category to beer.
You can find Moonlight Meadery in these Monadnock area stores:
- Market Basket
- NH State Liquor Stores
- The Beer Store
- Hannah Grimes
- small craft beer/bottle shops and local convenience markets
Ciders are also available on draft in pubs, taverns, and restaurants throughout the state.
23 Londonderry Road | Unit #17 | Londonderry, NH
moonlightmeadery.com | 603.216.2162