First came the craft beer boom, then the gin renaissance… Now a group of friends in York hope to start a mead revolution from the city.
Peter Taylor, Ellie Reynolds, Lynn Reynolds and Severin Gammon, who met through a shared love of Viking re-enactments, have set up Nidhoggr Mead Company and hope to build on the city’s Viking reputation.
They began producing from a house in west York, but are moving into commercial premises near Skelton and plan to officially launch next week.
Peter, the managing director, said: “We are all Viking reenactors and part of Viking societies, and we drink mead quite often at the events. I had made mead as a hobby for quite a while and people told me it was really good, so I thought: why not try to sell it?
“Mead is something we are very passionate about. The team all have different skills from other jobs and all our skills complement each other.
“We are doing well while still working elsewhere, but we hope to go full-time with the mead when it’s up and running.”
Peter is sure the time has come for a mead rennaissance.
“Ten or so years ago, gin was an older person’s drink but now it’s the fastest-growing drink in the world,” he said.
“We want to do the same thing with mead, creating cocktails with it, partnering with mixer companies and more. There is a QR code on the bottles, which takes you to a cocktail menu.
“We want to make mead modern. People watch Game of Thrones, play Assassin’s Creed Valhalla etc, and all of these things lend themselves to mead. It’s one of the most flexible drinks there is – you can have it hot or cold, neat or mixed, flavoured or not.
“There are no other meaderies in York, and with York being the Viking capital of England we thought it would be a good idea.”
Mr Taylor is from Stoke, but moved to York after meeting his girlfriend at a Battle of Stamford Bridge re-enactment. “We fell in love and moved to York, and have lived here ever since,” he said.
Nidhoggr hopes to sell the mead in York through Jorvik, Valhalla bar and other local businesses, but also online to a wider market and through historical attractions elsewhere, such as Duncarron village in Scotland.
Mead is made with fermented honey and Nidhoggr is launching with four varieties, all using Yorkshire honey: traditional, elderflower, ginger, and lemon and lime.
New flavours are likely every few months, and 700ml bottles will cost £25. The mead typically takes about eight weeks to ferment, and has an ABV of around 18%.