Premium Irish mead seeks entry into UK on-trade

Kinsale Atlantic Dry Mead

A premium mead producer from West Cork is seeking listings in the on- and off-trade to fill what they see as a gap in the UK market.

Kinsale Mead Co aims to break into the UK with its traditional Atlantic Dry Mead made with orange blossom honey as well as its variant, Wild Red Mead, made with blackcurrants and black cherries.

It follows the company being awarded a gold medal for its Atlantic Dry Mead at the world’s leading mead competition, the 2018 Mazer Cup, which is held in Colorado in the US.

Co-founder Kate Dempsey said: “We are looking forward to taking momentum from this as we target new markets. We understand there is a gap for premium mead in the UK market and believe there will also be a real appetite for it amongst consumers.”

The small but growing premium mead market in the UK has been pioneered by companies such as Gosnells Mead in London and Lyme Bay Winery in Devon.

Kinsale Mead Co was founded in 2016 and was Ireland’s first meadery fermenting from honey since the 1850s. It released its first mead in late 2017 and now distributes these across Ireland where it comes in 70cl bottles at a price in retail of about £19 (22 euros).

The meads are made in small batches using raw Spanish orange blossom and forest honey with floral notes. This is combined with yeast and locally sourced water from the Innishannon River and fermented. It is rested for two to five weeks and matured for a further six months before bottling at 12% ABV.

Atlantic Dry Mead is a traditional mead made from orange blossom honey, giving it a floral, citrus aroma, a long lingering hint of honey and very little sweetness. It is best served chilled or over ice with tonic water and an orange twist.

The Wild Red Mead is a fruit mead – known as melomel – made with blackcurrants sourced locally from Wexford and sweet dark cherries to create a richly coloured drink with a zesty fruity flavour tempered with the hint of Spanish honey.

Its name is inspired by Anne Bonny, an 18th-century pirate of the Caribbean who came from Kinsale. It is best enjoyed at room temperature or poured over ice and garnished with a thin slice of orange.

Denis Dempsey, co-founder and owner of Kinsale Mead Co, said: “We founded Kinsale Mead Co because we wanted to reintroduce the ancient art of mead making.

“We’re passionate about making mead and have lovingly handcrafted each small batch using the finest ingredients.

“It’s amazing to have our efforts recognised by the Mazer Cup competition and we are particularly pleased as it is judged by our peers – fellow mead-makers.”

Kinsale Wild Red Mead

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