Tonight at 9PM EST, we’re off to Grosse Pointe Park (near Detroit for those who don’t know) to visit with Julie and Rana (RJ), owners of Recolte Meads. Recolte Meads has been open for about 2 years, and opened their tasting room on April 23 this year.

Julie has been making mead for several years. Back before she started making mead, she had a tenant who couldn’t make rent, and in the course of her story, mentioned that her dad owned an apiary. And Julie had her tenant pay her rent in honey! She ended up with 8 five gallon pails of the golden nectar, and *voila* she started making mead, in 5 gallon batches. Julie has been in the beer and brewing business for over 25 years. She did both hands on and other related jobs in the industry, and learned a lot from the folks doing the brewing. She also owned a brewery that had a license to make wine and mead (which they did), though the focus was mostly on the beer. She started seeing the mead industry grow, and wanted to expand mead sales.

After she left the brewery, she was approached by a friend to open another brewery in downtown Detroit. She suggested a meadery instead, since there were so many breweries out there. The friend had never had mead, so he stopped by to do some tasting of Julie’s meads. At this point she had been making mead for about 2 years. So, her friend, impressed with mead, agreed to do a meadery. But Julie ended up talking it over with her BFF Rana (RJ) and they decided to partner up and start their own meadery. They planned, Youtubed and Googled the heck out of starting a production facility, and finally created a business plan that worked for them.

They opened their production facility 2 years ago in Sterling Heights, and have been producing mead since that time. When they were in the building process, they were told that having the meadery downtown wasn’t going to happen due to cost to build being beyond the budget. So, they changed their business plan to start distribution as soon as their mead was ready. And they did all this while working full time jobs at the hospital! Julie is a Surgical Tech and RJ is a Certified Sterile Processing Tech. And Julie is raising 4 kids! That’s dedication!! So, once they decided to distribute, and were in the process, they got a call from that same friend, asking them to look at a space in a building they’d just bought in Grosse Point Park. Julie and RJ did, and fell in love. And, that changed things, and they decided to hold off distribution while they got the tasting room ready, and opened their new tasting room April 23.

They are using Michigan wildflower honey, and local fruits in their meads. Recolte is French for ‘harvest’, so it’s a good name for this venture. They are serving food (you should *see* the pics they post on their Facebook feed! delish!), and have evening events and board games at the tasting room. They even have a record player (retro!) and encourage guests to bring their favorite albums to spin on a weekly event. They are planning to sell bricks in their front wall to raise money for a local non-profit and to help with equipment purchasing. We’ll be talking with them about their adventures as meadery owners, and digging into what their doing with their meads, and what they’ve learned about making great mead.

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If you want to ask your mead making questions, you can call us at 803-443-MEAD (6323) or send us a question via email, or via Twitter @GotmeadNow and we’ll tackle it online! 9PM EDT/6PM PDT Join us on live chat during the show Bring your questions and your mead, and let’s talk mead! You can call us at 803-443-MEAD (6323), or Skype us at meadwench (please friend me first and say you’re a listener, I get tons of Skype spam), or tweet to @gotmeadnow.

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Upcoming Guests:
  • Aug 6 – Raul de la Garza, Freya Brewing in Neuvo Leon, Mexico
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Vicky Rowe
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