Blog: Mead moves out of the dark ages as honey buzz blossoms
Andy Morton | 16 April 2014
A sign that the modern world's love of nostalgia is getting seriously out of hand appeared today with news that mead is the fastest growing category in the US alcoholic drinks market.
Admittedly, this bombshell came from the potentially partisan American Mead Makers Association. But 130% growth last year, as the association flagged, is still impressive. As one mead maker said: “The last 300 years have been kind of rough for the business, but it's been picking up.”
But that the dark ages' favourite flagon-filler is firmly back in fashion should be no surprise. Most mead, after all, is made using honey, and as the world's whisk(e)y producers have discovered over the past few years, consumers are very keen on that ingredient.
Strong growth for Brown-Forman's Jack Daniel's range has been built on its Tennessee Honey variant, while Diageo last month launched a honey-flavoured version of its J&B Scotch brand.
Ads and packaging across the spirits categories are increasingly emblazoned with buzzing bees and dripping honeycombs as marketers make the most of a sweetener that manages to be both authentically sweet and wholly natural.
Was it ever thus?
According to the American Mead Makers Association, evidence of honey in fermented beverages dates back more than 9,000 years. Which goes to show that, underneath all the marketing and branding, consumer tastes never really change.
Here, courtesy of Nielsen, is a list of the top ten wine brands in the UK off-trade for the year to 11 October....
Whisk(e)y companies spend a lot of money and effort ageing their products for that premium taste....
PepsiCo created a stir last week with the news it is testing a product called Caleb's Kola, with some in the media claiming it was the beginning of a new “craft soda” category....
Miller Brands, the UK unit of SABMiller, has a launched a new 75cl bottle for its Peroni lager brand. ...
SABMiller's bid to widen the appeal of beer is very much in evidence at its latest 'House of Peroni' - with beer cocktails and a bigger bottle for the Italian lager brand on offer. ...
Here's a round-up of the big stories on just-drinks last week, featuring PepsiCo, SABMiller, the Scotch whisky category and the US wine market....
- Comment - How Hand-Made is Tito's Handmade Vodka?
- Heineken to stay "active player" in beer M&A - CFO
- Focus - Pernod Ricard's Q1 sales by brand
- Analysis - Remy's Cognac "dead-cat bounce"
- Time for Heineken to make a European break
- Moët Hennessy unveils first Travel Retail outlet
- Whisky downturn slows Diageo's Scotch spend
- Beam Suntory, Edrington part ways in Travel Retail
- Pernod Ricard sees sales lift in Q1
- Smirnoff Ice gets India launch