There is nothing mead-iocre about artisan start-up Wye Valley Meadery, who’s new take on the world’s oldest drink has attracted the attention of BBC One’s hugely popular Countryfile show, Radio Wales, ITV News, as well as landing them the 2019 ‘Prince’s Trust Enterprise Award for Wales’ and two ‘Great Taste’ awards, all within their first year of trading.
The BBC’s Countryfile has been on location in the beautiful Wye Valley getting a taste of local mead thanks to award-winning Wye Valley Meadery for a feature on Sunday 20th October.
The Countryfile feature focuses on what it is like to work in the Wye Valley, why bees are so important and the process of turning honey into mead.
Wye Valley Meadery is a family-run company based in Chepstow, set in the beautiful Wye Valley on the Welsh borders. Started by brothers Kit and Matt Newell in late 2018, the meadery is growing as more people are trying this new entry to the drinks market.
Kit was working as a product designer for a technology company in Reading and Matt a geologist for an earth-moving company in Bristol. They are both now full-time mead makers, having left their previous jobs to pursue a long-time ambition – to make a living working with nature and in the place where they grew up.
During filming on 3rd October, they presented their own section on making mead in the beautiful Wye Valley, which will feature as a segment of the Sunday-night show, watched by up to 9 million people each week.
The Wye Valley Meadery produce session-strength mead using honey from their own bees, which is infused with a variety of ingredients to create six mouth-watering flavours (so far): Honey & Hops; Honey & Rhubarb; Honey & Elderflower; Honey & Ginger, Mango & Mosaic and a Winter mulled-mead, all at 5.5% strength. Unusually for mead, it is bottle conditioned, giving it a natural sparkle and a refreshing fizz.
Commenting on the filming, Kit said:
“It was great to show the Countryfile team our mead and show them around our beehives. Being able to share something that we have made and are so passionate about is one of the big reasons we got into doing this in the first place. We were able to explain our love for the local area and nature, and how this turned into us creating this new take on mead.
“We enjoyed demonstrating how we apply modern brewing techniques to an ancient beverage, creating something quite unique. The setting of our apiaries and meadery in the Wye Valley is second to none, and this is what gives our mead it’s depth and unique flavour. The Countryfile team certainly enjoyed joining us in sampling our sparkling mead.”
The entrepreneurial brothers are on a mission to transform the perceptions of mead from something that died out with the Vikings, to that of a trendy, craft drink that can be enjoyed in the same way as beer, cider or sparkling wine.
This mission has been handsomely rewarded recently, with the brothers collecting the ‘Prince’s Trust Enterprise Award for Wales’, to be featured on ITV News with a feature-video shot over the summer showing the beehives and the products they craft.
This recent award is in addition to the 2 Star ‘Great Taste’ award for their Honey & Hops mead, and 1 Star for their Wye Valley Honey – the base ingredient for the mead.
Their success will also feature on BBC Radio Wales with an interview with the brothers on Friday’s breakfast show.