“It was a big jump for us,” said Ben Alexander, owner of Maine Mead Works yesterday in the company’s distinctive tasting room in their new location at 51 Washington Avenue. “Going from 800 ft. to 8,000 sq. ft is major. But this move allows us to grow,” Alexander said. Just two weeks ago the wine company moved from its location on Anderson Street to the former Nissen Building. Alexander and his wife, Carly Cope, generously took some time yesterday to fill in some of the details.
Cope took MHN.com on a tour of the fermintation room during which she said that this system of producing wine is only 1 of 2 wineries in the world using this system – “continuous fermination.” The system is currently pending patent approval. The system was invented by Dr. Garth Cambray, 35, of South Africa. When the patent is approved Cope and Alexander will have the North American rights. Cope explains that Mead is honey wine and there are other similar wineries across the country. The wine is made of honey, water and yeast. The yeast consumes the sugar which becomes alcohol. Mead is an old, old honey wine beverage. Cope, who makes jewelry and designed the distinctive tasting room said it can be similar to beer, but Maine Mead is closer to wine. During the last year, they have rotated a dozen varities of wine – it is seasonal. In mid-December, Maine Mead will produce Elderberry Mead for purchase. (To learn more about Mead, Cope suggests googling it.)
“We are very happy to be on the Hill. There were few places where we could have all our needs met – including Mead making, parking and a place for a retail business,” said Alexander. The couple is trying to expand into down east Maine – places such as Bar Harbor. They already have developed markets in the Camden and mid-Maine area. That is where their efforts are focused these days however. Eventually, they hope to have a distributor to sell out of state; but they are not there yet.
Their first customers in the Portland area were Old Port Wine Merchants, all three of the Rosement stores and Whole Foods. “All local businesses have been very supportive of our business and we are grateful for that,” said Alexander. Browne Trading Co., Commercial Street, is one of their current customers and for their next tasting event, visit them there Thursday, October 28th from 4:00 – 7:00 pm.
Salud to this promsing local start-up!
Please visit www.mainemeadworks.com for more.