Commitment to Charity
Elgin Meadery has donated up to 100% of proceeds from select batches to the Austin Justice Coalition, Meals On Wheels, Elgin Community Cupboard and driveasenior.org. We will continue to support these important charities, and more in the future. Charity events are announced on Facebook, so follow along and don’t miss an opportunity to combine your love of mead with a charitable donation.
Meet the Founders
Elgin Meadery is owned and operated by Micah and Michelle Erwin in the heart of Elgin Texas. They have shared a passion for quality locally sourced food and are committed to staying connected to, and supporting, local food systems. Micah is the man behind the mead, and runs day to day operations. Michelle works at the Health and Human Services Commission of Texas and brings her many years of experience in leadership to the business. Micah's many years of archiving medieval manuscripts and historical research ignited his passion for mead. From ancient techniques to modern methods, Micah brings years of expertise, unique knowledge and creativity to the mead making process.
Save the Bees, Drink Mead
At Elgin Meadery, we believe in the ecological benefit of locally sourced ingredients. We take pride in crafting a sustainable product that represents our local region, and serves to help preserve our eco system.
As you may know, the honey bee population has been in rapid decline over the past decades, leading to a loss of plant life and failing crops from lack of bee pollination. As a result, there has been an increase in beekeeping and restorative agriculture practices that utilize bees to revitalize regions. The byproduct of this is of course honey. With the bee population dwindling, and the need for beekeepers desperately rising, the demand for honey from the mead industry provides greater profitability and sustainability to the ecologically essential practice of beekeeping. Making mead helps save the bees, which in turn, helps save our ecosystem and crops. Learn more about the sustainability and ecological benefits of mead and honey.
A Mead Maker's Manifesto
My interest in mead began over two decades ago when I read about the fermented drink made from honey in a novel called the Endless Knot by fantasy author Stephen Lawhead. It was described as a drink that warriors drank to celebrate their victories and lovers shared on their wedding nights. Being just a teenager it wasn’t until many years later that I had the chance to actually taste the mystical beverage. At that time mead was very hard to find. The only thing you could easily get your hands on was syrupy; and in many cases not actually mead. During my sophomore year of college, I used a recipe I got off the internet to make a one gallon batch of strawberry mead which I fermented in a plastic jug - with a balloon for an airlock, in my closet. The end product tasted horrible but did contain alcohol so I wasn’t completely discouraged by the result.
I had my first taste of good mead four years later at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in 2006, a conference that gathers over 3000 medievalists. A group called the Medieval Brewers Guild was giving out free samples and when I tried it I immediately decided that I wanted to start making more myself. It wasn’t until a couple of years later, at the encouragement of a fellow medievalist and friend, that I actually started making mead in earnest. Now here I am, many, many batches later, with my wife (and business partner) running a meadery.
So what's so great about mead?
Honestly, it goes way beyond its taste or inebriating qualities. It even goes beyond the fact that I’m fascinated by the Middle Ages and this was the preferred alcohol drink of royalty up until the 16th century. Before going off to graduate school my wife and I worked on a small educational farm/ranch in rural Arkansas. It was there that I was introduced and initiated into the movement for sustainable farming, farm-to-table, and local food systems. Although I don’t always abide by those principles, I try my best to be as responsible and intentional with my food consumption as my pocket book and time allow. I also tend to idealize the time when all we ate was what we could hunt and gather (one of those things being honey) and although I don’t follow a strict paleo diet, I think it’s a good idea.
One of the coolest things about mead is the fact that it fits so well within the sustainable-paleo-locavore movement. Unlike wine, mead does not require such specific topography or particular climate conditions to produce its base fermentable (honey). Unlike beer, it does not require vast fields and an infrastructure for processing the grain. These facts create great potential for a meadery to locally source its honey.
In addition to being a sustainable product, here are a few other reasons why honey makes mead so special:
Honey has a lower glycemic index than table sugar or high-fructose corn sugar so your body metabolizes it at a more steady rate.
Honey has natural antibiotic properties.
If unpasteurized, unfiltered and sourced locally, it contains pollens that may help reduce your susceptibility to allergies.
We rely on bees to pollinate many of our crops, so by drinking mead you are supporting agriculture.
Perhaps the most magical thing about mead is the fact that when you drink a glass of mead made with locally sourced honey you are literally drinking the transmuted nectar of thousands of flowers from your region. It imparts a beautiful sense of terroir.
Now I know there are a lot of you out there who love beer or wine and don’t really care for mead because it is either “too sweet” or it doesn’t have the body beer has. But I would like to propose that we evaluate mead on its own terms. If you were to try out a new IPA you wouldn’t compare it to a malbec would you? Most likely, you would think about how it compared to other beers of a similar style. Just like any alcohol beverage, mead has it’s time and place--it’s up to you to decide where and when it is best suited. Mead is like a blank pallet in that you can add almost any herb, spice, or fruit and in the right hands come out with a beautiful product. And for those of you out there who think mead is too sweet, my answer is that you haven’t tried enough mead. Mead can be bone dry, oak aged, or as strong as a port.
So that’s my story; I love turning honey into a locally sourced, hand-crafted, delicious tasting beverage.
The guiding philosophy for my craft is simplicity combined with the precision of a sword stroke and the heart of a beginner’s mind. The nectar of thousands of flowers transmuted into honey and then into wine; mead is in my blood, perhaps transmitted to me from a long lost ancestor who was the village mead-maker in the misty isles of Britannia?
Mead has been loved by many around the globe for thousands of years, and I believe you will love it too.
Keep Up With Elgin
We constantly strive to improve our product and view the mead making process as one in which each batch is an improvement upon its predecessor.
We always welcome your input. Feel free to e-mail or call anytime. Cheers!