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-   -   Why do you think Mead isn't more popular, compared to wine? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/why-do-you-think-mead-isnt-more-popular-compared-wine-308012/)

wonderfulwino37 02-26-2012 03:37 PM

Why do you think Mead isn't more popular, compared to wine?
Sorry, if this is the wrong board, but I figured Mead enthusiasts would make for better discussion than the general board.

I found a great place 20 minutes away that sells all sorts of imported beers, wines, mead, and ciders. It's a home brewers dream for research! But it got me thinking. Why, out of the rows and rows of wine selections in your basic grocery store, can't there be even one little shelf for Mead. Mead seems to be extremely popular among home brewers probably because its the only way to get it, and because its damn good!

Or is it just my area? I live just South of Seattle, WA. Is Mead available in stores near you?

Insomniac 02-26-2012 04:01 PM

It's the same over here, go to any super market and you will find rows of wine, and good amount of beer, and these days a slowly growing range of ciders. I can even grab a choice of two sakes. But not a single mead. I can get mead at a farm shop 20 mins away but they only have 2 varieties from the same company and both are very sweet. Both nice, but I would love to see some variety!

Boerderij_Kabouter 02-26-2012 04:13 PM

Mead has a lot of problems commercially.

First, vintage meads and straight honey meads are very strange/funky/austere and it is neither a flavor that the general public can commit to or a particularly attractive flavor to wine drinkers. About the only category of people who really like mead are fans of weird tasting stuff or those who love the historical aspect of the beverage. It is distinct and great for those into it, but the niche is tiny.

Second, fruity meads only attract those who like country style wines. How many of those do you see on your shelves? Almost none. Fruity, flavored wines have a bad stigma as being cheap and overly sweet/cloying.

Third, it is not cheap to produce, so the final product is compared to wines that are actually good. If good mead was the price of beer, it might have a better chance, but there is no way to make that price point and stay in business.

Forth, it is seen as a gimmick, not a real product. People instantly think of a Renaissance fair, Beowulf, or some other gimmicky scenario when they think of mead. In other words, it has a major image problem.

The list goes on, but I wouldn't expect mead to hit the mainstream anytime soon.

Insomniac 02-26-2012 05:06 PM

I'm not sure taste is the issue, a nice sweet mead that isn't overly cloying tastes much less weird than wine does imo... though you may have a point, I took a bottle of mead to a mates house a few months back and two girls I had never met before tried some. Neither had ever tried mead at all. One really liked it and her glass dissapeared in seconds, the other pulled a face and said "It tastes like honey" and passed it on.
I guess to some i't something you might eat on toast but not something you would drink...

But certainly the rest of Boerderij's points about image are probably true, as are those about it's cost. I do tihnk however that it's image is improving, all be it slowely. I actually discovered mead at a pub who was serving it warm over winter a few years back.

AZ_IPA 02-26-2012 05:14 PM

Schramm brings up some very good points/thoughts in his book.

Mainly, wine has a lot of study/science/marketing/money behind it, and mead does not. Also, because mead is similar to wine, it has struggled to create/maintain its own identity.

cl330b 02-26-2012 05:22 PM

The only place I have ever seen Mead for sale is at a local brewery in the Apple Hill area in Camino, CA. They also have Mead tastings there. I have made my own and the stuff I have tasted there is not as tasty. It seems they were focusing on ABV as opposed to taste. But I have never seen it on the shelves.

AZ_IPA 02-26-2012 05:30 PM

There's a few meaderies out there, but like others have said, it just hasn't caught on commercially/economically.

I'm also wondering if honey varies crop to crop a lot more than certain grape varieties, thus kaking large scale replication more difficult?

Regardless, I like the fact I can make a kick add oaked cherry melomel and i can't buy it at the store. :D

Atek 02-26-2012 06:48 PM

I believe most of the issues are that the right audience simply isn't targeted with mead. Usually its targeted to the Norse mythology Mead lovers. Not a bad crowd but a rather small one. The all organic market is huge and growing. I come from a technical/business background and am going back to school for my viticulture degree. I have a plan to market the right meads to the right crowds as much more mainstream. Maybe you'll see meads in the not too distant future in your supermarket.

TheBrewingMedic 02-26-2012 07:49 PM

A lot has to do with marketing, Hit the right market/demographic and do it creatively and enthusiastically you can make JUST ABOUT anything take off.

fatbloke 02-26-2012 09:49 PM


Originally Posted by AZ_IPA (Post 3831456)
Schramm brings up some very good points/thoughts in his book.

Mainly, wine has a lot of study/science/marketing/money behind it, and mead does not. Also, because mead is similar to wine, it has struggled to create/maintain its own identity.

AZ_IPA has got pretty close with the above.

Wines not necessarily as big as you might think, it depends on whether the country grows grape, or borders one.

In truth, as many of us have found out, it's not easy to make a mead that has a quick turnaround. So you have to have quite deep pockets to stomach the expense until you've got product, then some whizzo marketing and a few high profile patrons doesn't go amiss. The closest we've been in the last few years or so, has been the mentions in the Harry Potter series of books.

Most of what's available here, is made by vineyards that happen to have the facilities. They seem to be like sheep, and not very adventurous sheep at that. Making almost entirely, dessert type, very sweet meads of about 14% ABV, but they seem to sell almost entirely in licensed farm shops (liquor licensed that is) or snobby food shops

I mean, hell, if I walk south for 10 minutes and then swim about 50 miles I'd be in Normandy, yet it's hard to get a decent Calvados locally, so why would I be able to get a decent choice of meads.......

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