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.
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