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Mead is a Contemporary Craft Brew

Mead has been experiencing a revival in the last half a decade as craft brewers and smart marketing slowly shifts the public perception away from medieval festivals and into high class bars and restaurants.

The major putsch of this perceptual realignment in the marketplace, from old school towards contemporary beverage, has primarily been driven from within the United States of America. We spend so much of our time paying attention to that market in the expectation that it presumes the direction of the Australian market.

For example, some restaurants now offer signature mead cocktails that may be served in mason jars with sprigs of this and dashes of the other. Fruit melomels and cysers have a propensity to be just about anything the modern mazer and licensed establishment would like to offer so the gate is open in a race to invent the best mead cocktail recipes and ingredients.

And the most interesting part of this new mead paradigm isn’t that mead has been pushed forward as a faux-wine product and found acceptance with the social elite. No. Quite the opposite. Mead has thrown the rule book out the window and challenged the common plod alongside a good old craft beer or cider. Micro brewers on the nimble edges of the industry have opened the once-unopenable gateways by throwing in hops to make hybrid beverages, making tart and sour carbonated beverages, embracing contribution from wild yeasts, shipping in cans and all manner of mead heresy.

Yes, there’s a strong market where traditional meads made well are healthy and growing product lines. But gradually the consumer will become more curious about the mavericks and heretics at the craft brewing fringes where many of these new ideas will eventually chew into the over-saturated and increasingly competitive landscape of the traditionalists. We’re still in the collegial stage of mead (even for those in the United States), but eventually this has to change as competition continues to enter.

Smart marketers know how to tempt and expose a new generation of mead drinkers with non-standard heresies. Simply, breaking the rules is a sexier sell than conforming to them. These mead heretics are about carving out new ground rather than fighting for established empires; they’re making a business choice between entering an established market segment or creating a brand new lucrative niche. Invent a new taste and/or experience and then educate the market to follow.

Meanwhile, we see a global resurgence of previously low key traditional alcohol varieties entering the Western market. It’s like a crack opened in Wonderland and suddenly people realised there were more options for Alice than a finite block of approved drinks our Anglo heritage has hereto dictated. Traditional drinks from Africa, Ireland, China and South America are making their way into our consumer consciousness. We’re individually becoming more open to new ideas and tastes and learning to trust our instincts.

Contemporary mead could easily revamp that old World War 2 recruitment poster – Be All You Can Be [with Uncle Sam’s finger poking you straight in the face]. And, if history has taught Australians anything over the last century… Australia will follow.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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