It was, I think, New Years Eve 2013 when I (AKJ) took a rather drunken bet with my friend Mr. Cox. I challenged him to make goats cheese so strong it would make my toes curl and he bet me that I couldn’t make mead, “And that’s the easy one”, he said. I have no idea who laid the first challenge, or indeed how the conversation came about, but lots of booze was involved, so it doesn't really surprise me. "Mead is simple", Mr. Cox continued, "you just boil everything, add yeast and wait three months" he stated authoritatively, “Da-daaaa. Mead!”. He has, of course, never made mead in his life. After a number of years, we can safely say that this is not how mead is made.
We can't claim to have a family history of brewing or distilling stretching back generations, but we quickly found that the artistry and challenges involved in delivering a perfect glass of mead - balancing the sweetness, acidity, alcohol and depth of flavour - was something that we both very much enjoyed. It isn’t easy, especially when you consider that what honey really wants to do is either sit in a bee hive and be tended by bees or be spread on toast. Nothing else at all. Adding fruits and spices makes the mead rich and interesting and also helps with the fermentation process but it’s our classic “Mr. Cox’s Simple mead” that we are most proud of.
Having perfected our various flavours and spent some wonderful weekends with friends and family basking in their praise, we finally succumbed to the cry “You should sell this!”. Initially we hesitated, (family have to say it’s good – right?) but after considerable badgering we decided to give it a go and started mazing in earnest late 2017 with our first farmers market booked in for May 2018.
To say we were nervous at our first market is an understatement but to our genuine surprise, other people said they liked it too and proved it by buying some. Perhaps more importantly, they could be honest with us. If they didn’t like it, they’d say so….but they loved it! We thought we would be happy if we sold a single bottle, and then to sell another bottle to the same person.; not just custom, but repeat custom. We achieved both at our third market.
We are now selling at farmers markets, food festivals and at selected outlets in the county as well as on-line.
We are brothers (yes, really - you'd know if you heard us laugh together) and we do this because we love it. We wonder what our father - an amateur vigneron when not up to his neck in engine parts - would make of our whole absurdly wonderful enterprise.
We’d love you to try our meads and we'd love to meet you at events throughout the year; we'll be in the black tent with the massive drip on the roof. Our mustaches may well be curled.
AKJ & CWJ
(p.s. Mr .Cox’s cheese is pretty good now too. I'm trying to get him to sell it - AKJ)
About Our Meads
We currently make mead in small 50 litre batches in Longfield, Kent, each yielding about 60 bottles per batch; we moved up from the tiny 25 litre batches from our first year of trading as we found at the end of that year that the only limit on the amount we sold had been the amount we made. Smaller than 'Micro', we are a Pico-Mazery..
Our meads are 100% Honey Meads; We don't use concentrates or syrups, artificial colours or flavours. Apart from fruit, the main ferementable ingredient is HONEY; not a claim that all commercial meads can make..
We try not to back-sweeten our meads, instead working hard to add the right amounts of honey, spring water, Champagne yeast, fruits and spices into the primary fermentation phase so that the alcohol content [ABV] is about right - somewhere between 12.5% and 13.5% - when the mead finally comes out the other side; this is the art of what we do and the most challenging part. If we must, back-sweetening is done with the same honey (ONLY honey) and spring water as went into the mead in the first place.
Our meads are fined - clarified - with a naturally occurring clay, plus the addition of gravity and time; we do not filter in any way. We do not add additional sulphites and all our meads are naturally free of Gluten.
We make our mead and bottle, cork, cap and label by hand; There is nothing even approaching a 'manufacturing' process involved.
We are always tinkering with the design of the labels and are always learning and tweaking our recipes to squeeze as much flavour, depth and character out of our techniques and ingredients as we can. We are closing in on the perfect mouth-feel.
Our meads will last about a month in the fridge once opened - they are very forgiving, far more so than wine - and should last a year on the shelf if not longer. The honey characteristics will really come through with age as the mead will slowly mature in the bottle.
We use artificial, recyclable corks after Mr. Cox suffered a really bad hangover back in the early days of mead experimentation that he said was caused by the liquor being 'corked' by the natural agglomerate corks...
With the exception of our Spiced Winter mead, they are best enjoyed cold, frankly from a prosecco glass, in company and responsibly. When you've finished the bottle. and before you reach for the next, please please recycle the label, bottle and cork.