Mead, made from honey, gets its own farm license

Mead, made from honey, gets its own farm license

 Make way for locally produced mead, the fermented beverage made from honey.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo put out the call on Thursday for applicants for a new farm beverage license for making and selling mead. Previously those who wanted to make mead commercially needed a farm license or a commercial license for making wine.

Until recently, you had to be a winery to make and sell mead in New York.

Mead is made by fermenting honey and water, though fruit, spices, herbs and flowers can also be part of the mix.

“By creating this new license, we are building on New York’s nation-leading craft beverage industry while capitalizing on our standing as the number one honey producer in the Northeast,” Cuomo said. “New York’s craft beverages are second to none, and we are steadfast in our commitment to supporting our local craft beverage producers who are creating jobs, promoting tourism and contributing to the Empire State’s booming economy.”

Until recently, you had to have a wine license to make and sell mead in New York.

A stand-alone mead license might mean a New York honey producer or a potential craft beverage maker could get into the business of making mead with a $75 license, avoiding the higher cost of a winery license and also avoiding the requirement to be located on a farm, as farm wineries must be.  The $75 license requires the mead maker use honey produced in New York State exclusively.

A second kind of mead license, costing $150, would allow honey from outside the state to be used, too. Some honey producers stay close to home, while others transport their bees and hives across state lines to pollinate crops elsewhere.

Similar to other farm licenses, the mead license will allow producers to also sell other New York-produced craft beverages on their premises and establish up to five branch locations where the product could be sampled and sold. The mead license also covers production of braggot, another fermented honey beverage that includes malt and hops among its ingredients.

“Mead is one of the fastest growing segments in the craft beverage industry, and this new license capitalizes on this growth and the increasing demand for New York produced honey,” said Vincent Bradley, chairman of the New York Liquor Authority. “Craft beverage manufacturers and honey producers in New York State will see value added to their businesses, boosting these growing industries.”

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