The History of Mead
Humans began making mead (also referred to as honey wine) before the dawn of civilization. Mead made from harvested wild honey was consumed by hunter gatherers long before we began to cultivate grapes or grain for wine and beer. Pottery vessels dating back to 7000 BC in northern China indicate the presence of fermented honey. In Europe the earliest evidence of mead can be found in the archeological remains of the Bell Beaker Culture which thrived over 4,000 years ago. Ancient texts such as the Rigveda (1700-1100 BC) of India, and the works of Aristotle (384-322 BC), and Pliny the Elder (23-79) all refer to mead. Mead was the primary drink of Celtic and Germanic heroic poetry. The Old English epic Beowulf refers to warriors consuming the beverage.
An increase in the popularity of grape wine and the influx of cheaper cane sugar from the New World all contributed to the decline of mead in Europe--although some monasteries continued the tradition of mead-making as a by-product of honey production. Today mead is experiencing a resurgence in popularity. People looking for a paleo-friendly or gluten free alcoholic beverage are seeking out mead as a new alternative to beer. An interest in local craft beverages and beverages made with local ingredients is also helping to fuel the growth of mead. Whatever the reason, we’re glad you are interested in it too and look forward to offering you many new interpretations of this ancient drink.