So You Want My Job: Janitor
In which Ricky the Meadmaker talks about what he wishes he knew before going pro, including: How to source large quantities of ingredients, who to reach out to when questions arise, state and federal regulations, how nice everyone in the industry is, and more!
So You Want My Job: Janitor
In honor National Mead Day, we felt it was appropriate to highlight the importance of both home brewing and commercial meadmaking to American mead culture. Speaking as both a homebrewer and the new marketing person for Groennfell and Havoc Meaderies, I'm here to tell you that yes, you can have it all!
By Jess Trebing, Marketing Director of Groennfell & Havoc Meaderies
The best way to grow America's burgeoning mead scene is for commercial meaderies to share what they know with the homebrewing community, and for homebrewers in turn to support commercial mead.
Why don't homebrewers just sell their own mead?
A lot of homebrewers think they need to choose sides: either make their mead or buy it. But in my experience, you can do both, and everyone will be better for it.
While speaking with a customer on Groennfell's Facebook Messenger chat about Groennfell's use of wild fermentation, I mentioned that I'm also a homebrewer who collects and brews with wild yeast. The customer asked the next natural question: "Why don't I go commercial with my own mead?"
Of course I love my homebrews and feel a huge sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I'm drinking them. But there are a ton of things that I can't do (or don't want to do) that a commercial meadery can.
In my case, I have trouble with carbonating, but there can be any number of challenges a homebrewer may run into: the retail cost of honey, the mess, and for anyone thinking about transitioning to commercial meadmaking, the licensing (to name a few).
Why commercial meaderies should support grassroots homebrewing
From a traditional business perspective, it seems like a given that a company like Groennfell would feel threatened by people making something very similar to their product at home. At the very least, it seems wise to hide recipes à la KFC and their vaulted chicken recipe. But instead, Groennfell makes their recipes public, urging homebrewers to try them and share them.
In addition to publishing what others might squirrel away, every few weeks Ricky (Groennfell's co-owner and head meadmaker) puts out an episode of his Youtube show, "Ask the Meadmaker," in which he discusses crowdsourced homebrew-centric mead questions.
In any other industry, this approach may have backfired. But the brewing industry, as I've learned, isn't like any other industry.
If there's anything to take away from how Groennfell and Havoc have done things, it's that sharing is caring - about the industry as a whole, the mead culture on a state and national level, and, by the collective gains made in those two areas, about one's own company.
Make our classic mead: Valkyrie's Choice
Valkyrie's Choice is just about the easiest Craft Mead to brew.
Essentially, you're simply mixing honey, water, and yeast in the right proportions.
Valkyrie’s Choice Clone Recipe
OG = 1.062
FG = .998
ABV = 8.5% abv.
Step by Step
Combine the first four ingredients at 104°F (40°C) stirring vigorously to aerate.
Wait 24 hours for the sulfites to do their thing, then sprinkle the dry yeast over the top of the must.
Maintain the fermentation at about 86°F (30°C).
Bottle (with priming sugar) or keg when bubbling has completely stopped (should be 8-10 days).
Enjoy in a week or two!
Jess Trebing is the marketing director for Groennfell and Havoc Meaderies, as well as an amateur homebrewer. Her favorite Netflix and mead combo is Schitt's Creek and Valkyrie's Choice.
Groennfell Meadery is Vermont’s premier craft meadery. Inspired by Old Norse legends, brewed with extraordinary ingredients, Groennfell’s meads are unlike anything you’ve had before. Crisp, clean, and astoundingly drinkable, the only way to explain any one of Groennfell’s meads is to try one yourself.