Friends in Mead for Bees Abroad
‘Friends in Mead,’ a brilliantly creative idea
The story begins at the Great Taste Honey Awards, organized by the Guild of Fine Food. Hundreds of honeys from all around the world are entered into this prestigious competition and hundreds of judges choose the winning pots of liquid gold. But when the judging is over and winners are awarded their coveted Great Taste stars, what do you do with all the leftover, opened jars of honey? As we all try so hard to recycle, re-use, renew and re-purpose, where can all this perfectly good, top-quality honey go? Surely a meaningful way could be found to use up the hundreds of opened jars of honey. And this is where the great minds of the Guild of Fine Food and Hive Mind Mead came together had the brilliant idea of creating a one-of-a-kind specialty mead with all the winning honeys, wasting nothing and its sales supporting the training and mentoring of new beekeepers establishing apiaries and social enterprises in disadvantaged communities.
Mead made from 250 honeys!
Kit and Matt Newall, founders of Hive Mind Mead in the Wye Valley, collected 250 jars of honey from the Great Taste Awards, from all over the world. In September 2023, they lined up an incredible palette of dark to light honeys, with a rich breadth of flavours. Over a four-month period the honeys were blended and carefully added to achieve just the right balance of taste. Greek honey with hints of thyme, dark honey from Zambia, and heather honey from the UK… Usually a mead would use around three local honeys for a mead, so this blend of honeys from all over the world is a remarkable creation! As Kit says, “this unique creation not only captures the diverse and distinctive notes of the honeys it contains, but also stands as a testament to the tireless efforts of beekeepers globally.”
A journey into flavour
The result is a limited edition of a most delicious, unique mead. The mead, aptly named “Friends in Mead” was launched on 13 December, 2023 at “A Journey into Flavour.” This tasting event at the Guild of Fine Food, London also celebrated the winners from the World Cheese Awards in Trondheim, Norway in October. Over 4500 cheeses from 42 countries were judged, and at the mead launch event, as well as trying the new mead, guests were able to taste Nidelven Blå, the World Champion cheese from Gangstad Gårdsysteri, along with other Great Taste winners. Patrick McGuigan, author, cheese expert and judge, led guests through the paired tasting and the producers of the award-winning cheeses shared some of the stories behind their cheeses. Guests included food writers, cheese producers, connoisseurs, and retailers, and I believe it is safe to say that the ‘Friends in Mead’ went down a treat with the cheeses!
100% of the profits from the mead donated to Bees Abroad!
But the story does not stop here! Bottles of ‘Friends in Mead’ are now available for sale through selected independent retailers and directly from Hive Mind’s online store to raise money for Bees Abroad. 100% of profits will support beekeeping groups empowering marginalised communities and improving livelihoods across Africa. And so the story will continue on into the future impacting the lives of young deaf students in Rwanda who will take beekeeping skills back to their communities, disabled farmers in Sierra Leone, women and children with albinism in Tanzania, and many other individuals in rural communities across Africa.
Friends in Mead (12% ABV) is available to purchase from Hive Mind Mead, priced £20 RRP for a 500ml bottle.
“We were delighted to work with Hive Mind to create the world’s first mead made from so many honey varieties. It’s a truly international mead and a celebration of beekeepers and honey producers from across the globe. What’s exceptional is that there will never be anything like this again, the blend is totally unique. We’re thrilled that sales will support the work of Bees Abroad.”
Tortie Farrand, Guild of Fine Food