Mead producers hoping industry will take off in NZ

Kiwi companies producing mead hope the honey-infused alcoholic drink will one day become as popular as wine.

First brewed in northern China in 7000 BC, the drink has had something of a renaissance in recent years, gaining popularity after appearing on TV shows such as Game of Thrones.

Now, there is a growing movement to produce the drink, with classic New Zealand products such as honey crucial to its success.

"I would love to see mead really being created as a category in New Zealand," says Chanelle O'Sullivan, owner of Borage + Bee Meadery. 

She told The Project the aim is to "take mead from history, recreate it, re-envisage it, reimagine it and then develop it for the 21st century."

Although the mead movement is growing, producers say it's still a struggle to get consumers onboard.

"I always knew there was going to be a challenge around education because a lot of Kiwis don't know what mead is," says O'Sullivan. 

Edward Eaton, co-owner of mead brewing company Buzz Club, says despite the drink's on-screen fame, it's still an effort to convince people off-screen to give it a try.

"Most of our target market have never heard of mead before, and those that have think its a sweet, heavy drink - so [we need] a full new revamp of what mead is and what it can offer."

Buzz Club's other owner, Wilbur Morrison, used to be a beekeeper. Now, he's keen to put honey front and centre of the company's mead.  

"We only use native honeys outside of mānuka , we want to show that it's not just mānuka that's an awesome product, that there's actually native honeys out there that  produce awesome things as well." 

Watch the video.