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Canadian Mead Regulations...

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Derf

NewBee
Registered Member
Jun 5, 2004
112
0
0
I came accross this info on the Canadian Honey Council website. Not easy to start a meadery.

---
The provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and British Columbia have all improved their liquor manufacture licencing regulation in the past five years and added a cottage winery category. Others like Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have no cottage winery category and wineries are expected to be large commercial facilities--2500 hl, or 66050 gallons minimum annual production. Quebec has always had more reasonable liquor laws and the product "hydromel" is available from meaderies in the province.

The cottage winery or farm winery is a relatively new category. This allows beekeepers with a certain number of colonies (50 in NB , 100 in ON) to apply for a wine manufacturing licence. A minimum (often 60%) of the honey used in the mead must be produced by the beekeeper. The other 40% can be bought from off farm. The licence entitles them to on-site sales or to sell to the liquor commission at a set price, provided their production meets a quota. The licencing fee is in the range of $500 to $1100 but this is nothing in comparison to the costs of commercial grade storage tanks, fermentation tanks, labels, bottles, corks and lab fees for testing every batch. Don't think about dumping a bad batch down the drain. The liquor commission has to give permission for disposal. Bookkeeping is essential because there are regular audits. Selling "off site" is exceedingly difficult. Permits are needed for shipping, the truck may not park overnight and alternatives such as courier companies are out of the question as they will not ship alcohol.

Most producers who enjoy making their own mead do not want to take the venture to the commercial stage.
---
 

Derf

NewBee
Registered Member
Jun 5, 2004
112
0
0
Yeah, in a couple of years I'm hoping to start beekeeping on a small farm my family owns in New Brunswick. But it will be a long time before I have 50 hives. That's a fairly major endeavor on its own even without throwing mead into the bargain. That being said, there are a few Canadian mead producers making a go of it. Again, from the CHC website:

"Vin au Miel Heritage Honey Wine Inc is a company formed by 4 beekeepers in New Brunswick. They sell an apple honey wine for the local market. The company is new on the scene and they have chosen to sell on site at each of their four outlets. Contact Earl Gilbey 506-363-3145, Ralph Lockhart 506-859-8186, Claude Hachey 506-546-6687 or Jacques Levesque, 506-684-5200.

"Munro Meadery, Alvinston ON has set up a meadery which produces three varieties of meads on site. The sweetness ratings are 2, 5 and 7. Contact John Bryans 519-847-5333"

Also, here in Nova Scotia, I've seen bottles of "honeymoon wine" in the liquor stores. I tried it and thought it wasn't bad, but my own mead is just as good if not better. Oddly enough, there was no information on the label about who the producers might be.
 

imported_bernie

NewBee
Registered Member
Dec 23, 2004
2
0
0
Howdy!
I am in the process of starting up a meadery in the Yukon and let me tell you it is tough. The current Liquor Act doesn't allow for any small operations. So it will be a bit of a political fight right off the bat. Right now I have about 8 inches of paper to get through and that's just from the Feds, if the local govt. gets on board I assume there will be an additional 8 from them.
The honeymoon wine you tried in Nova Scotia probably comes from The Lunnenberg Winery. I was there this spring and tried a bottle or two. Not bad but I preffered their crannberry wine
 

jackwolfe

NewBee
Registered Member
Dec 7, 2004
16
0
0
moonlitmuse.cjb.net
Just a quick note about the laws in alberta, they are in the process of being revised. Apparently they have changed in the last couple of months. The apiary that I purchase my honey from is in the process of setting up a meadery on the side. Now it looks like you can start a meadery as long as you produce 2300 L in the first year and have produced 4800 L by the end of three years...I am still looking to find more info about the private producer, someone who doesn't actually own an apiary.
I imagine all the paperwork will still be a mile high, as well as strict guidlines that have to be followed.
 

vldster

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 6, 2005
6
0
0
44
I know that my question is a wee bit off topic, but are there any law regarding production of mead for private use?
 

Geoo

NewBee
Registered Member
Nov 1, 2005
36
0
0
vldster said:
I know that my question is a wee bit off topic, but are there any law regarding production of mead for private use?

There are such laws but from what I understand they vary by state.

My question is.. Why does it seem so hard to start a meadry compared to a winery or other. Or is my perception wrong. Not sure I understand why its so hard to get mead in the stores.

Geoo
 

Cirina

NewBee
Registered Member
Apr 1, 2024
1
0
1
Nova Scotia
I came accross this info on the Canadian Honey Council website. Not easy to start a meadery.

---
The provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and British Columbia have all improved their liquor manufacture licencing regulation in the past five years and added a cottage winery category. Others like Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have no cottage winery category and wineries are expected to be large commercial facilities--2500 hl, or 66050 gallons minimum annual production. Quebec has always had more reasonable liquor laws and the product "hydromel" is available from meaderies in the province.

The cottage winery or farm winery is a relatively new category. This allows beekeepers with a certain number of colonies (50 in NB , 100 in ON) to apply for a wine manufacturing licence. A minimum (often 60%) of the honey used in the mead must be produced by the beekeeper. The other 40% can be bought from off farm. The licence entitles them to on-site sales or to sell to the liquor commission at a set price, provided their production meets a quota. The licencing fee is in the range of $500 to $1100 but this is nothing in comparison to the costs of commercial grade storage tanks, fermentation tanks, labels, bottles, corks and lab fees for testing every batch. Don't think about dumping a bad batch down the drain. The liquor commission has to give permission for disposal. Bookkeeping is essential because there are regular audits. Selling "off site" is exceedingly difficult. Permits are needed for shipping, the truck may not park overnight and alternatives such as courier companies are out of the question as they will not ship alcohol.

Most producers who enjoy making their own mead do not want to take the venture to the commercial stage.
---
Nova Scotian just looking into making my own mead, if we don't intend to sell and just want to make our own for personal consumption, do we fall under the cottage category? I scrolled through the legislation and couldn't find anything about the legalities of home brewing without intent to sell, and then I came across this site and was hoping y'all might know better? Am I fine to brew for myself or do i require a weird microbrewery/cottage wintery license?
 

Chevette Girl

All around BAD EXAMPLE
Moderator
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Apr 27, 2010
8,447
59
48
Ottawa, ON
Hi Cirina,

Ontarian here. You do not need any form of license to make alcohol for your own use (outside of distillation), it's only if you sell that you require all the licensing... And as described above, it's no easy feat, last time I looked into it, for Ontario anyways we need 2 acres of fruiting crops to register as a winery and 50 hives for a meadery, and in both cases the mead or wine (you can make either legally with the other license as far as I understand, because some current wineries make meads and some meaderies make wines) they may have changed that since the last time I looked) must be produced on the site where the fruit is grown or the honey is processed. Not a low bar at all, unless you're already living on land of the appropriate size with the appropriate plants or bees, with the correct zoning to have a commercial building. Most recently, Ontario has decided that the meadmaker doesn't need to also be the beekeeper as long as they have a beekeeper partner able to reserve a minimum of 50 hives' worth of honey for the exclusive use of the meadery.

Also, for future questions on years-dormant threads like this one, starting a new thread and including a link to the old one is a much better way to get information than to revive a thread that's been inactive for 19 years.
 
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