Moonlight Down Under
Moonlight Meadery Expands Internationally
Londonderry, NH September 9th 2013– Moonlight Meadery LLC, producer of craft mead available across the US, is expanding sales internationally to Australia.
This startup business has seen its sales quadruple year over year since its beginning in 2010. With a mission of establishing mead as an entirely new niche category of the adult beverage market, Moonlight Meadery is delighted to announce its first sale to Calibre Craft Beer Trading Company of Queensland, Australia.
Moonlight Meadery has established itself as a leader in this rapidly expanding craft mead category by using top-quality True Source Certified honey, which ensures fair trade practices, sustainability and the ability to track honey sources back to the hives of origin. The company started production in May of 2010 in the owner’s garage in Londonderry, N.H. and now has a tasting room and production facility that can produce 400,000 bottles per year. Considered by the industry to be the fastest growing craft Meadery in the USA, Moonlight Meadery is thrilled to extend its reach overseas.
Michael Fairbrother, Moonlight Meadery founder and mead maker, smiles as he reminisces, “I never fully understood this as a young man: when you make a woman happy, she will tell anyone she can… To think that within three years of operation my meads would be available commercially in Australia is nothing short of incredible. I am proud that our reputation for producing nothing but the best honey wines is spreading across the world.”
About Moonlight Meadery (www.moonlightmeadery.com)
With 17 years’ experience making international award-winning mead, Michael Fairbrother started Moonlight Meadery with a mission: bring premium meads (over 70 varieties) that showcase dry to sweet styles to a mainstream market. Now available for distribution to all 50 states. In addition they offer tours & tastings seven days a week at their world headquarters at 23 Londonderry Rd, Unit 17 Londonderry, NH. (603) 216-2162.
About Calibre Craft Beer Trading Co. (www.calibrebeer.com)
Calibre Craft Beer Trading Co. was founded in 2012 by long time, passionate craft beer supporter, Daniel Rickard. Calibre was originally created as an opportunity to get involved in the craft beer reform taking place in the Sunshine state and provides Queenslanders with a ready supply of quality, fresh Australian made beers and ciders enriched with an array of high quality international beers through a newly established partnership with Experience IT. This vast portfolio is now complimented with Calibre also importing quality meads from Moonlight Meadery and award winning ciders from Gwynt y Ddraig (Wales) now available to the rest of the nation.
THE ART OF MAKING: Michael Fairbrother of Moonlight Meadery
We pledge to protect our customers and consumers, as well as the global reputation of honey products, by ensuring to our utmost ability that honey is ethically sourced in a transparent and traceable manner from known beekeepers and brokers; that honey moves through the supply chain in full accordance with U.S. law and without circumvention of trade duties; that it carries truthful labelling as to its source, has been tested to ensure quality, and has been handled in a safe and secure manner from hive to Meadery.
Mead is only as good as the quality of its ingredients, and the passion of the mead maker, this is why we use only the true source certified honey. We never pasteurize the honey we use as this ensures that the volatile aromatics of the honey are preserved. Honey comes in many different flavours and colours.
Our founder and mead maker has spent years perfecting his art, having earned bronze, silver and gold medals for his meads at numerous international mead competitions, including the most prestigious of all a Best of Show with Desire, our Black Currant, Black Cherry, Blueberry melomel.
When the honey arrives at the Meadery, it is mixed with water until it is in the correct concentration for fermentation. We measure this using a refractometer, a scale that tells us how much dissolved honey is in the solution. At this time, we also would add any fruit that is going to be fermented along with the honey. While our honey is being mixed with water, dry wine yeast is rehydrated with yeast nutrients to ensure the yeast is healthy, and has enough nutrients to begin fermentation. Healthy yeast is critical to the mead making process. If done incorrectly, the mead will not ferment all the way to completion, and may also have off-flavours that will impact the overall quality of the finished product. When the yeast and unfermented honey/water mixture (must) are ready, we add the yeast (pitching) and a few other yeast nutrients to ensure a healthy fermentation.
Mead is hands-on during the fermentation stage. Each day (and often twice a day), we mix the yeast back into suspension and take measurements. Measurements include specific gravity (fermentation activity), pH, ambient temperatures, and must temperatures. These measurements help us understand where the mead is in the fermentation process, and gives an indication of what might be causing a problem, if one is experienced.
When primary fermentation is complete, the mead is transferred into tanks for aging. During the aging process, the mead maker takes samples to determine how it is progressing. We only release our meads once we feel that they have matured enough, not based on a time-table or formula. This is the art of mead making.
Once aging is completed, then the mead is filtered into the bottling tank and then bottled.
BASIC GUIDE TO MEAD
As with most quality products, the better the ingredients, the better the Mead, and at the top of the list of ingredients is the Honey. Honey comes in a huge variety of flavours depending on the flower source the nectar was gathered from. Each varietal adds its own flavour, aroma, complexity, and body to the Mead. They can be used individually, or mixed to layer the flavours and create a whole new taste. Some honeys are very light and do well in straight Meads or with very subtle and delicate fruit flavours. Others bring with them great complexity that complements stronger ingredients while not being overwhelmed by them.
Mead can also have a wide range of flavours, strength or body depending on the amount of honey used, the yeast strain used or additives (also known as “adjuncts” or “gruit”) including fruit and spices.
The adjunct ingredients can be added into the Must, or by putting them into the Mead during fermentation or the ageing procedure. The variety of ingredients you can add is as vast as the imagination itself, restricted only by common sense and availability.
Some meads retain some measure of the sweetness of the original honey, and some may even be considered as dessert wines. Drier meads are also available, and some producers offer sparkling meads. There are a number of faux-meads, which are actually wines with honey added after fermentation as a sweetener and flavouring.
Mulled mead is a popular drink at Christmas time, where mead is flavoured with spices (and sometimes fruits) and warmed, traditionally by having a hot poker plunged into it.
Below are the main styles of Mead and the ingredients used to make them:
- Mead – made with honey, water and yeast
- Sack Mead – a sweeter Mead, with more honey
- Melomel – with fruit or fruit juice
- Metheglin – with spices and extracts
- Acerglyn – with maple syrup
- Morat – with mulberries
- Pyment – with both honey and grapes
- Hippocras – with honey, grapes, and spices
- Cyser – honey and apples or apple cider (apple juice in Europe) Can also be made with peach, cherry or pear cider
- Braggot – honey and malt, sort of a Mead-beer
- Oxymel – Mead mixed with wine vinegar
- Rhodomel – honey with Attar, a rose petal distillate, or rose petals
- Capsicumel – honey with chilli peppers
- Omphacomel – Mead and Verjuice, the juice of unripe grapes
- T’ej –with honey, water and hops. It is the national drink of Ethiopia, and has a unique taste
The following guidelines will help you enjoy your mead:
- Mead pairs very well with food. Cheese and crackers works very well as a broad match. A sharp cheddar is probably the best and what Moonlight Meadery utilises in their tasting room. There is also more specific pairing suggestions on the Moonlight Meadery website under ‘our meads’
- Mead has a recommended drinking temperature at around cellar temps: about 15-18 degrees. Like most beers, the colder the serving temperature, the less you will taste and miss some of the nuances. When it comes down to it though, it is really a personal preference.
- Each 375ml bottle should serve 4 people and white wine glasses are the ideal vessel in which to drink.
- Once a bottle has been opened, the mead can be continued to be drunk for up to 2 weeks before they start to show signs of deterioration. Use a wine stopper or cork to seal the bottle.
- Mead also has no end shelf life. They will continue to age and develop in the bottle for years to come.
- Try to store your Mead as close to 15°C as possible and avoid high temperatures. Small changes in temperature should be fine but try to stay away from big fluctuations.
- Store the bottles on their side to keep the cork moist and prevent shrinking.
- Keep the Mead away from the light as this causes oxidation and “off” flavours.
- Avoid vibrations and shaking.
- Enjoy with friends!!