“Michael Faul of Rabbit’s Foot Meadery in California says that when the company started making mead in 1995, there were a dozen or so wineries making mead on the side. “We were the first true meadery making meads, cysers and braggots, or honey beer,” he says, noting that since then, with the rise in craft beer and cider, “there are more and more people jumping on the bandwagon.”
“Mead is making big moves these days, with more and more commercial meaderies popping up over the globe. To commemorate the movement in the industry, I am making animated gifs that display products, companies, and people instrumental in the contemporary advancement of mead.”
Mike Faul, owner of Rabbit’s Foot Meadery in Sunnyvale, CA, believes the route to expanding mead’s presence in the U.S. market is through braggots and cysers, which are apple cider and mead mixtures. Started in 1994, Rabbit’s Foot has two braggots just released to the market, an 8 percent alcohol by volume Belgian strong ale style and a 4 percent Kölsch style. Under the Red Branch Cider label Rabbit’s Foot sells four different cysers.
“At the moment the biggest potential for most meaderies to grow in the mead segment is to go after the cases that Bargetto [Winery] is doing with Chaucer’s,” Faul says. “Braggots open up the beer market and cysers create opportunities in the cider category. It’s difficult for new meaderies to survive if they only do straight mead.”
“Michael Faul, owner of Rabbits Foot Meadery in Sunnyvale, CA, received his license in 1994, and he might be considered one of the deans of the mead business. “Fourteen years ago I took my wife to a medieval festival at Bunratty Castle near Shannon Airport in Ireland,” he recalls. “She liked the local mead so much that we grabbed a bottle at the duty free. It’s totally different now, but at the time it was a heavy, syrupy dessert wine. Back home, we checked a couple of local liquor stores, but we couldn’t find it. I was a homebrewer, so I decided I could make it for her.”
That first batch turned into a new profession for the computer systems engineer. His main product is Pear Mead (12 percent alcohol by volume, or ABV), made from clover honey along with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and well-ripened fruit.
“Rabbit’s Foot currently offers four meads. Its sweet mead is made with jasmine honey and the dry mead is made with raspberry honey, or honey from raspberry blossoms. Rabbit’s Foot also makes Private Reserve Pear Mead, which is made from honey, pears and spices. Each of these is 12 percent to 13 percent alcohol by volume.”