February 7, 2013

Your Semiannual Arizona Mead Update

Mead. It lays silent, still, cool, biding it's time often for years. It's not brash like its cousin beer nor does it get the culture cred as does wine. Generally, mead makers aren't creating a stir by calling out other larger mead makers as not being "Trad" just "Trad-dy". They aren't packaging meads in stoats or getting bragadoccio about freeze distilling. There is no "Enjoy By Fall 2023" mead. Mead has yet to enter into a canned mead is superior to bottled mead phase.

A Cascadian Dark Mead? Puhleaz. No Social Mead-ia Drama for the youngest1 of the naturally fermented beverages.

In that spirit, I have two pieces of under the radar local mead news items. This is, of course, another non-re-occurring segment called, "Your Semiannual Arizona Mead Update". As we all know, semiannual refers to  every 2 years or six months with the annum concurring roughly with fermentation cycle of a typical show mead (give or take) or the occurrence of any medieval reference or anytime I want reference that Pliny the Elder also wrote of mead (milititesand not just hops. Murky stuff.

Arizona's First Licensed Meadery Opens

Actually it's several firsts. Superstition Meadery out of Skull Valley (Prescott) was officially licensed by the state sometime during the summer. Their first releases began to appear at The Raven Cafe in early December. Among the other firsts:

  • First Mead on Tap made in AZ
  • First Hard Cider made in AZ
  • World’s First Bourbon Barrel Fermented Mead
You can see how a list like this could grow, since they are first in everything in that class including first mead owner to buy me a beer at OHSO2.

One of the more under-appreciated, yet landmark, firsts may be First Alternating Proprietorship in AZ. That could factor in to many start-up business plans in the AZ beer scene.

That's quite a good show without much fanfare or self-promotion on their part. Help them out here.

New Hampshire Meadery with Valley Connection Distributing in AZ
Yea, I went all TV news-y with "Valley Connection".

The strong home mead making community in Phoenix has always been a fan of Michael Fairbrother's mead. Some met his acquaintance at AHA National Homebrewer's Conferences as a pro speaker or before that even, while he was an amateur. Others know of his story to open Moonlight Meadery. Moonlight was a sponsor of the Brewmeister's Anonymous Mead Cup in March of 2012. ASH member, Steve McKellips won the Best of Show last go-round and was rewarded with an opportunity to make a mead professionally with Michael.

You would think that I'd know if this actually happened or not, but these mead guys--very quiet folk. Downright murky. Moonlight will be distributed by Young's Market. We'll be looking to get Moonlight and Mr. Fairbrother out for an AZ visit soon. (We shook on that right, Michael?3).

1Mead: ~2000BC; Beer: ~3500BC; Wine ~6000BC; earliest physical evidence.
2I have a fuzzy memory Jeff.
3We did not shake on that.


  1. A local here prepares his in about 3 months, the key is temperature control. Consider he won Gold at Mazer cup a while back I'd say he knows what he is doing. I'll have to get you a bottle.

  2. I'm in Tucson and I too have won some awards and can get a great product done in 3 months. Love Mr. Fairbrother and excited that he is coming to AZ for a visit. As for factors in AZ beer scene start-ups...at this time you can't lave a brewery and a winery in the same location by law. Now the girls that own AZ Hops&Vines are lobbying the state to change those laws but at this time ints not an option. Wine and "Wine" (ie what they categorize mead as) is doable in the same location. Unfortunate, I know.