Our First Year
Our first year of trading has been an amazing journey, as we are sure many who follow us daily on Facebook will know. Stepping into the select world of Mead making was scary to say the least, but we have made it through year one, even though there were many expenses we could of done without so early. We had to expand our premises after only 6 months of production, we had to get a 'new-to-us' van as the T4 campervan didn't have the power to tow a trailer very well, we had to get a caravan so we can do the many events we do at camps around the country. Our filter pump failed, so we had to buy a new filter. But we survived.
To promote our company and products, we started off at Houghton Towers Farmers Market. This very shortly clashed with many other events, so the lads from The Lancashire Beer Circle, later to become Crafty Ales, took our products on for their markets at Houghton Towers and Great Harwood. The same happened with Artisans in the Palm House market in Sefton Park, Liverpool, although the organisers priced themselves out of our market.
At the beginning of June 2014, we travelled down to Glastonbury for the Summer Gathering of OBOD, the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. The George & Pilgrim had not long since had a change of Management staff and I had been talking to them about stocking the Mead for Bar sales by the glass. On the day of arrival we secured a deal to supply them with our Mead. Now we are a regular fixture on the bar shelf.
It was on our return from Glastonbury, that we received a call from The Knights Shop in Conwy, North Wales to have a meeting with them. We left there thinking that they would come on board in the late Autumn, however a few days later they put in their 1st order, followed by 2 more in a month! Our Traditional, Handcrafted Meads are now a big hit with their customers.
In July we attended a now defunct Fylde Food & Drink Festival, and 12 months after voicing a dream of being on the Bolton Food & Drink Festival, we had a stand there on the August Bank Holiday weekend. We were very well received and met with the total shock of many that Mead was being made here in the very town! We will be back there this year and hopefully with an even stronger presence.
Our biggest event was Pagan Pride in Nottingham on the 1st Sunday in August, from start to finish we did not stop, by the end of the day we were thoroughly worn out. Unfortunately we cannot be there in 2015 or 2016. However we shall be at Pagan Pride South in Southampton in 2016.
In September 2014, we got an unexpected customer, Michelin starred chef Simon Rogan. Our frst delivery was to his Fera@Claridges Restaurant, and just before Christmas, the Group Executive Chef Mark Birchall took our Mead to Simon's flagship restaurant "L'Enclume" at Cartmel. It is only time now and "The French" at Manchester's Midland Hotel will join in with the other group members, and we can only hope that his other restaurants, pub and bar will stock it.
At the latter end of 2014, we managed to get our feet in to the re-enactment market by trading at The National Living History Fair and The Original Re-enactors Market. It is these 2 fairs that start us off and bring our second year to a close in 2015.