Honey wine is considered as one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world. Thanks to Hollywood series, honey wine (mead) is always associated with fierce Vikings and medieval knights.
Somewhere along the way in history, mead got suppressed by wine, beer, and other drinks. However, there is an impression that honey wine is making a comeback as more and more meaderies are open.
What is Honey Wine (Mead)?
Honey wine or mead is a combination of water and honey fermented by yeast. Sometimes spices, hops, fruits, or/and grains are added to play with its taste. Technically speaking, honey wine is neither wine nor beer. It is in its category that floats somewhere between wine and beer. You drink it like beer, but it is stronger than beer.
In terms of versatility, honey wine can easily be combined with different styles in the same way as craft beer. In terms of similarities with wine, it can range from dry and crisp to sweet and rich, and bears some similarities to fruit wines and liquors such as Japanese plum wine.
Health & Honey Wine (Mead)
Since ancient times honey wine was associated with vitality and great health. In ancient Greece, honey wine was even called “the drinks of the gods.” Because honey wine includes ingredients such as honey, it is believed that it must be a super healthy drink.
Honey does have strong antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, and that’s a medical fact. However, there isn’t enough research on whether honey wine offers certain health benefits or not.
The fermentation process includes microorganisms known as probiotics, which can potentially bring a ton of health benefits. But at the same time, there isn’t enough research that reveals how concentrated they are and how big their impact is on human health.
There isn’t any definitive conclusion as the jury is still out. Worst case scenario, honey wine is healthy as beer. The best-case scenario has amazing healthy powers.
The Origin of Honey Wine (Mead)
According to historians, honey wine predated both wine and beer and was first made around 3,000 BCE. The assumption is that the mead was first made when rain dropped into a pot with honey. People spontaneously started drinking and didn’t stop since then.
Archeologists believe that its origins are from China’s Henan province. Romans, Greeks, Ethiopians, Russians, Vikings, they all have their version of honey wine. Honey wine shout-outs can be found everywhere, from Aristotle’s writings and Nordic saga’s to the Bible.
The Re-birth of Honey Wine (Mead)
Honey wine was the preferred alcoholic beverage for many centuries, if not millennia. However, due to new tax laws, it felt out of favor during the 1700s. In the United States, the re-birth happened in the 1960s in a small winery in California. Bargetto Winery first started making Chaucer’s mead and started offering it at Renaissance fairs. But it wasn’t until the 1980s when meaderies started producing mead regularly.
Nowadays, there are meaderies all over the world, producing and selling it regularly.
The Future of Honey Wine (Mead)
Craft beverage enthusiasts are always on the hunt for the next big thing. Craft mead is, at the moment, their biggest obsession.
The demand for craft mead is greatest in the USA and Western Europe. People seem to have developed a taste for this famous mythological beverage. Popular shows like Game of Thrones seems to have done a massive favor in promoting honey wine. And once people tastes, it seems they get attached to it.
There is also noticeable demand in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific. The demand is mainly to the increasing urban demographics. There is an emerging culture of social gatherings in which honey wine seems to be a popular alcoholic beverage.
Nevertheless, the honey wine market is far from the size of the wine and beer markets. But it is already turning into a thing on its own, finding its base which is continuously growing. Manufacturers are not only focused on the expansion of their established base, but they are also pursuing untapped markets.
A good percentage of their marketing and promotional campaigns are inclined towards the millennia generation, which is known for its curiosity and openness to new experiences.
Where to Buy Honey Wine (Mead)?
In the United States, there is literary at least one meadery in every state. There are also meaderies in all Western European countries like France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and so on. Even if there isn’t any near you, there are many that sell their mead online and ship worldwide.
Final Thoughts on Honey Wine
Honey wine may be an alcoholic beverage old thousands of years, but it is yet to gain serious attention in the upcoming years. Its current base of cult followers is continuously expanding as more and more people find it highly enjoyable. However, it’s yet to see if it’ll ever reach beer and traditional wine popularity.