As a media gadfly, I’m on every kind of PR list imaginable. Whereas I once resented receiving publicity spam, particularly if it was off my beat but now, given the absurdity of our culture, everything seems off-beat. I welcome it. I’m almost entertained, if not by the subject of the pitches themselves then the extra hustle flacks have to perform to break through the noise in the heads of guys like me. That happened today with this headline: “NY: The Go-To Mead Destination.”
WTF is Mead, you ask? Honey-wine. That’s right, it’s the fermented byproduct of regurgitated plant sugars and the enzymatic activity of bees. It’s also the where we get the term “buzzed.” I bet.
Why the need for mead now? “…Newfound fans, thanks to the popularity of medieval-era shows on TV,” explains the press release. If that’s the case, why hasn’t some canny copywriter nicked the endless Got Milk? campaign with this: GoT Mead? (Hire me for your copywriting needs here.)
Meade in the Sheade?
What do you call a place that makes mead? A meadery. That question begs the answer to be a Knock-Knock joke pun but it just doesn’t deliver on the expectation — you know, like mead. For that matter, those hipster motherfuckers making this shit better keep it under wraps or we’ll end up with mead-drunk hordes of white dude-bros with tribal tats out to kill Grendel’s mom.
It’s probably already too late. In January, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the FY 2019 Budget includes a proposal to create a license for farm meaderies. The provision also allows farm meaderies to produce “braggot,” a malt beverage made from honey, malt, hops, and a name that takes me right back to the fear and loathing of high school locker rooms.
“New York is the number one producer of honey in the Northeast, and by increasing opportunities for farms to produce mead, our thriving craft beverage manufacturing sector will continue to grow,” Cuomo said, delicately avoiding any mention of Vikings or mead-swilling barbarians of the bridge and tunnel variety.
All that said, the publicist sums up with a list of New York meaderies with the odd choice of phrase, “for those interested in dipping your toe in this eccentric, old school drink.” I don’t think anyone wants to dip more than their upper lip in anything they’re gonna drink but, hey, they know their target demographic better than me. Here’s the list:
All Wise Meadery, Earle Estates Meadery, Torrey Ridge Winery, Enlightenment Wines Meadery, Montezuma Winery, Lakewood Vineyards.
Clearly, you don’t have to be based in Westeros or Valhalla to make the stuff. But as the risk of sounding like a Pace Picante Sauce advert from the 80s, mead made in New York City? I suppose if you can make it there you can make it anywhere.