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MeadCon 2022

MeadCon is more than just another industry convention. It’s a celebration and a gathering of mead practitioners that are on their own journey. MeadCon 2022 was held in Baltimore, MD on August 22nd through the 23rd. The two day event served professionals, as well as, home mead makers. The American Mead Makers Association provided a hive of educational topics, amazing speakers and an insight into where the industry is and where they are going.

Brian Wing, President of the association and co-owner of Green Bench Brewing Company, welcomed the attendees. He addressed skyrocketing costs and supply chain issues. Greg Heller LaBelle spoke to the legislative focus of what the AMMA helps its members navigate. There is a desire to work with the TTB to clarify exactly what the word “Mead” means. Kevin Meintsma shared the status of the mead maker of the year and the Mead Masters Program. He talked about the importance of brand building and spotlighting and highlighting mead.

Even Himes of Dutch Gold spoke about the current state of honey production internationally. Addressing concerns about bees and what is being done to develop honey production in global markets. The largest importers of honey are the United States, Japan and Europe. We learned the very concerning facts about how some countries have been manipulating markets and a controlling the flow of honey to the world. Evan finished by speaking to the Antidumping Lawsuit. He provided a perspective into what is at stake as the litigations moves forward.

Arthur Frank provided amazing insights into the study into terroir that he did with honey. He purchased 6 different wildflower honeys from upstate New York. He chronicled the development of the 6 individual meads that he created. We got to try the meads and were treated to a breakdown of the various floral sources that impacted the flavor and character.

Brian Woerner’s discussion of beekeeping was fascinating. He illustrated his personal experiences with bees. Raising bees and building a hive is actually challenging and time consuming. Constant care and attention is required to make quality honey and have healthy bees.

Charm City Meadworks hosted the evenings festivities with a charity event and bottle share. Meadmakers from all over the country brought their best “nectar of the gods” to open and enjoy. There were Braggots, Cysers, Dry Meads, Sweet Meads, Melomels, Sessions and Pyments. Home mead makers and professionals discussed techniques, stories and laughter. Everyone was treated to some of the most amazing meads ever created.

Day 2 provided more education and an opportunity to meet with the vendors that brought their products for the mead makers to discover. There was no shortage of honey, flavorings and wood barrels to give the attendees new ideas and ways to raise the bar on their craft. The conversations were lively as all reflected on the past evenings merriment. New friendships were made and old ones were solidified even more.

Brad Dahlhofer, co-founder of B. Nektar Meadery, led a fascinating and fact filled discussion on scaling. Taking a small batch from bench trials and expanding it into a large scale production. Exploring adding flavorings and the tools of success that a mead maker should have.

Tom Gosnell, Co-Founder of Gosnells, taught us all about pasteurization. We learned an in-depth history of how this is used in other industries and how it can revolutionize the shelf stability of mead beverages. The Gosnells are passionate about pasteurization. This was a master class of where science meets safety preserving the flavor and quality.

For those that were looking to enter their meads into competition, Jim Price, Allen Martin and Matt Mead, provided proven methods to get your mead judge ready.

Brian Wing brought his experience of the use of centrifuges for filtering. Three samples of the same base raspberry mead were brought to a full house of scrutinizing palates. Each was clarified using different methods. As technology becomes less expensive and more readily available it will provide more avenues for the mead maker to improve their creations.

Brian shared his post Meadcon2022 observations and thoughts with Fermented Adventure. “It was great to finally get everyone back together. We can do Zoom meetings and talk mead, but it’s not the same as raising a glass face to face. I was very happy to see such a strong turn out of professional meaderies at the conference and the quality of mead being shared was really incredible. That’s a great sign for the industry. I was also happy to see how many new meaderies attended the conference. Aside from the incredible growth that shows for mead in the US, it means we have more and more folks who have experience in opening a meadery and can help the next home mead makers who are thinking of going pro. Creating business plans, navigating TTB regulations – all of that is a learning experience. The more meaderies that have gone through that increases the knowledge base for the industry and paves the way for more to come. It was also really nice to see how much energy and ingenuity the home mead makers brought to the conference, with some excellent research that we can all benefit from.”

We are looking forward to what the next year brings us in the world of Mead. The future is looking sweet.

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