It all started in the summer of 2005. Dan was encouraged by his Aunt Nancy to head to Denmark for 10 days with his 2 cousins to do some "on the ground research" regarding the family genealogy. He left Deb back in Massachusetts with infant twin girls just over a year old. He on vacation, Deb in baby work world. So, he, being the thoughtful husband, brought back for Deb a ceramic bottle of "Viking Mead." "Viking Mead??"  She scratched her head. Very romantic (??). Never heard of mead. He (being testosterone laden) thought it looked cool. Deb (being full of estrogen) thought it a waste of money (She would have loved a lovely old vine zin at that point being by herself with 2 "busy" babies to look after while he was gone "researching.") So, there it sat on the liquor shelf along with all the other half used weird booze one buys for a specific cocktail you only use once.

Fast forward several months...

"Hey, what is this?" as he dug deep into the pantry.  There is was, no worse for wear, a bit dust coated, but "well aged." We opened it, lacking that lovely old vine zin of which Deb spoke, and poured 2 glasses. We sniffed. We sipped. We were HOOKED. Mead was amazing! It was not the sweet syrupy drink we assumed it was! Delicious. "We can make this!" He said with a smirk. The rest, as they say, is history.

We had always been beer brewers - started that in grad school as a hobby and to save some money. But mead and wine was to follow. Dan tried his hand at all sorts of wine, some good, some okay, some, well, good for cooking. Mead creating soon followed the wine. Neighbors came to sample and give feedback. "This smells like dirty socks." "Wet sponges?" "Nice fruit overtones." These are some of the comments overheard on our deck among or many friends. Dan became the "mad scientist," keeping dutiful log notes about quantities , measurements, temperatures, and fermentation activity. Honey was ordered by the bucketful. Spice racks were gone over and perused and spices chosen. Kids were shooed out of the basement. We waited. We watched the bubbling. We waited some more.  And then we sipped. Pure bliss!  He did it!  The hard work had paid off!

So, now many years down the road, we are ready to share our passion for mead with others. We hope you will come and check us out, come tour the production room, partake in the tasting room, and hopefully support our honey nano-winery!

Join us for celebration of National Mead Day, August 1

Free Tastings, Bee Talk and More!!

Tastings available from 1-7 PM.

Get more information from the American Homebrewers Association:

National Mead Day!

So, we built it and you came... in DROVES!

Such a wonderful turn out of the mead curious and the mead starved!  We had several crew on hand to help us welcome you. 

After our ribbon cutting ceremony by the

Ipswich

Chamber of Commerce

, Orville delighted the

sipping crowd and folks wandered throughout our production area asking great questions.  And they chatted with our apiarists and bee educator about bees, hives, and bee conservation.  Over the 3 days, 356 of you tasted a flight, and MANY of you went home with a bottle - OR TWO!  We could not have asked for a better jump start!

 

We feel so fortunate to have been welcomed so warmly on 3 Short Street.  We have loved this town for so many reasons - but you all gave us an additional one this weekend!  And we thank you!

If you missed out on the fun, fear not!  We will be open for tastings Thursdays and Fridays 2 - 7 pm, Saturdays 1 - 7 pm, and Sundays 12 - 5 pm.   Or call other times for appointment.

Here are some more pictures from the weekend fun...

 

 

 

 

 

 

April is here!!  The snow has melted enough to reveal peeks of grass turning green in the warm sun and we can see daffodils and tulips poking up as a wonderful sign of spring. Spring is renewal - a new beginning. A new small business - an exciting start for those of us at the core of the 1634 Meadery.

In many ways it seems like forever since we sat in Dan's idling truck gazing at the rental property at 3 Short Street that would become the 1634 Meadery. So much time was spent WAITING for licensing, label approval, formula okays from the government and more. And now, barely 2 weeks until opening weekend (April 24 - 26th!!!), it now seems like a whirlwind, a fast and exhilarating roller coaster ride.

The tasting room work was fast and furious but the result, we think, is warm and inviting - it is something you must see. The bottling went very smoothly and we have conquered the label machine once and for all (forgive us if your label is slightly off center... it kind of reflects our personalities!). We are polishing the place up and will be ready for our first guests Friday, April 24 at 2 pm! Come by and learn about bees, honey, fermentation, mead, mead history and our production. Then, stay for a tasting!

Hope to see you there!

Here is the tentative schedule of events for our opening weekend!

(times subject to change - see our website for up to the minute changes)

Friday, April 24 (open 2-7):

          2 pm - grand opening (close at 7 pm)

          Tours and Tasting til 7 pm

Saturday, April 25 (open 1-7):

          1 pm Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony

          1:15 Music by homegrown Orville Giddings

          1:30 Tours and Tastings begin! All day!

          3:00   Keeping Bees - Q and A with Maggie Collins - one of the youngest members of the Essex County Bee Keepers Association

          TBA: Meet the Apiarist! Q & A with one of our honey suppliers and buy some local honey!

Sunday, April 26 (open 12-5):

          12 pm Tours and Tastings! All day!

          2:00 - 4 pm Music by Knotty Celtics

          3:00  Keeping Bees - Maggie Collins - one of the youngest members of the Essex County Bee Keepers Association

          TBA: Meet the Marshview Apiaries beekeeper!  Q & A with one of our honey suppliers from Ipswich!

Grand Opening Weekend Update:

We are tidying up the production area and the tasting room, getting ready to greet our opening weekend visitors! We have said hello to many this week who saw Sir Meadalot guarding our door and popped their heads in to say "Hi." We are hoping for good weather so we can spread out our special guests. If someone has an in with the weather forecaster, give them a call, will ya?

Here is what you can expect when you come by:

Friday, April 24th

Open 2 - 7 pm

Tours and Tastings until 7 pm

Saturday, April 25th

Open 1 - 7 pm

**Tours and Tastings begin at 1:30 and conclude at 7 pm

1 pm:

Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony

1 pm - 3 pm:

Music by Orville Giddings (maybe later if we encourage him!)

Tomten Beeworks, one of our local honey suppliers, on hand to discuss their 300 hives and selling Ipswich honey and goods

3 pm:

Maggie Collins, Bee Educator, Essex County Beekeepers Association: discusses how to care for a bee hive - suits, smokers, and microscopes!

The Mazer will be on hand all day to answer your questions about mead making!

Sunday, April 26th

Open 12 - 5 pm

**Tours and Tastings begin at noon and conclude at 5 pm

12 pm:

Marshview Apiary, another of our local honey supplier, on hand to discuss what it takes to be an apiarist, also selling local Ipswich honey and bee wax goods.

2 pm - 4 pm:

Music by the Knotty Celtics, folk duo!

3 pm:

Maggie Collins, Bee Educator, Essex County Beekeepers Association: discusses how to care for a bee hive - suits, smokers, and microscopes!

The Mazer will be on hand all day to answer your questions about mead making!

We look forward to meeting you all!

                                                                                http://www.1634Meadery.com

So, back a year ago, when we actually decided to DO THIS THING and start a small scale commercial meadery, we had no idea how this was about to change our lives. But as we roll nearer to our 50 days to opening countdown, we reflect on how far we have come (and how far we need to go!). Our desire to share our passion for mead has demanded that we become "Jacks of all Trades" and learn so many new things!

Opening a small business is a crazy choice, and now, looking back, I think for choice for slightly crazy people! SO much to know and learn and do. Especially in the alcohol realm, state and federal guidelines take 28 hours a day, a gallon of sweat and 3 pints of blood to understand and follow to complete and submit paperwork correctly (and, mark our words, either you or they will have missed something - despite your greatest efforts, and time will be added to the turn-around....).

Decisions about labels have to be made; overall design, manufactures, paper stock, and sheen choices. Choices of bottle volume and shapes, dip waxes, wall colors, cork types, shelving and lighting design, T-shirt selections, logo creation, distribution boxes, stamps, bags, and so much more....

I tip my hat to anyone who has had the brim and vigor and guts to follow a dream and do what they LOVE. And even more kudos if the business is still standing after a year!

SO, can we give you a glimpse of what this all means? I will try!

Mead Man Dan has become the meadery's full time CEO, CFO, COO, lead tasting room reconstruction manager, head fermentation chemist, taste tester, director of day to day operations, accountant and comptroller, a dang good graphic artist, editor, facilities manager, quality control boss, web site designer and manager... And he remains a really awesome dad to our wonderful girls.

Besides still holding full time jobs as mom and high school science teacher, I have become lead label writer, editor, public relations manager, head marketing agent, and design staff, director of networking, social media administrator, and interior design is now on the resume. I assist with day to day operations, am lead custodian and food shuttler (yah gotta eat sometime!)!

What does all this mean? It means we sure wish we had 30 hours in a day to get everything done. It means we arise at 4:00 am because we cannot sleep. We sleepily wander downstairs to make coffee and write the blog that caused us to not sleep in the first place. Or review the "to do" list that seems to keep growing despite our best efforts to get stuff done. But, neither one of us would trade it for the world. Dan is so happy, the happiest I have seen him in a long time, because he is doing what he LOVES. He works for his passion. And how many of us can say that? And it makes me smile.