Mead in Virginia
Here is our story
Our mission is to support Virginia beekeepers to help establish hives for sustaining the bee population and Virginia agriculture. We buy our honey from all around Virginia. Our commitment is to re-create the world’s oldest fermented beverage by taking advantage of modern techniques and local ingredients.
Today’s multitude of craft beverages has opened palates and tempts the curious to try new creations. The bright flavors of mead and its many variations promise to appeal to a wide range of consumers.
Basic mead begins with fermented honey and water. The Muse is our traditional mead – it's the purist mead and the essence of the original mead. It is a 12 percent ABV all-honey mead that is available year-round. Using the same recipe (honey, water and yeast), we let the bees create unique flavors for each batch of the Muse. Flavors come from the yeast and from the honey, which is affected by the flowers the bees alight on for the pollen. The geographical area of where the honey was produced, the time of year and the amount of rain each add a layer of flavor complexity to the honey.
We use the Muse as the base for our other mead varieties. Meads can include a host of other ingredients: apples (creating a drink called “cyser”), grapes (“pyment”), other fruits (“melomel”), spices (“metheglin”) and roses (“rhodomel”). We make our flavored meads from fruits, herbs and spices that are available with the changing seasons.
About Bill Cavender, Mead Maker
I have long been intrigued by the magical and mystical world of the honeybee. Early in my life, I was fortunate to be introduced to the world of beekeeping.
In my early twenties, I encountered local beer while studying in England. I found it necessary to begin brewing my own beer after returning to Virginia. This was during the late 1980s, when the craft brewing movement was in its infancy. After several years as a home brewer in Virginia I moved south to Austin, Texas. While there I found that the warmer climate presented a challenge for brewing beer. This discovery altered my path to a new direction and led me down the road to mead. Mead can ferment successfully at higher temperatures, which let me continue my brewing adventures. Mead making was the perfect marriage of my two passions: bees and craft brewing.
My mead making journey has lasted more than 20 years. I have crafted a variety of meads with ingredients including varietal honeys like macadamia, mango, orange blossom, meadowfoam and tulip poplar. I have crafted meads with peaches, figs, raspberries, prickly pears and apples. I have incorporated spices including cinnamon, pepper and vanilla; herbs including Thai basil, lemongrass, bergamot, lemon balm and chamomile. As a result, our meads offer a wonderful variety of flavors.
The craft beverage movement has provided me with support and allowed me to educate those who may not have understood this wonderful ancient beverage. We are grateful to the community of craft beverage explorers for embracing my mead. This enthusiasm has encouraged me to seek and strive to craft the best possible mead.
And all of this is possible because I have two amazing women in my life; my wife Jayne who encourages me with loving support and a persausive management style, and Olivia, our greatest creation who is our inspiration to succeed.