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Mead in heaven

Mead is one those drinks that we’ve all probably heard about, but never tasted, and don’t really know what it is.

Mead is a drink that is brewed using honey in the fermentation process and its history can be traced back over 10,000 years when it was first produced in China.

Centuries later, the Greeks and Romans were using honey to sweeten the rougher wines and there is some evidence to suggest that the keeping of bees started because of honey’s importance in producing alcoholic drinks.

The Romans brought wine and mead with them as they expanded their empire into Britannia, which were the most popular alcoholic drinks of that era.

Beer was being produced in the near East and also by the Gauls and Germans, which the Romans would have known about, but didn’t drink.

Mead remained the most popular drink on these isles until the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, when the Norman courtiers brought their own favoured drinks: cider, perry, fruit wine and grape wine, whose popularity filtered down through society, with mead rapidly falling out of favour.

Of course, the production of mead never stopped, but in recent times you would never find it for sale in restaurants, bars or pubs, and despite mead’s renaissance over the last 20 years, you would still be hard pushed to find anywhere to buy mead, except directly from the producers.

All that could be set to change with the arrival of Bemuse and their range of non-alcohol meads, produced with honey at the heart of every variety – four distinctive flavours, which the producers suggest can be enjoyed on their own, with food or used as mixers to create memorable cocktails.

Bemuse was launched in 2020 by close friends Anna Chalov and Nataliya Peretrutova who wanted to create a new drinking experience.

They decided to produce their own take on non-alcohol mead, which would stand out from the burgeoning range of no- and low-alcohol beers, wines, spirits and ciders.

In their own words, the owners are “…on a mission to create intriguingly different drinks that not only taste great but are inclusive and kind to our planet.

“Everyone can feel good about consuming them, whatever the occasion. That’s why Bemuse mead is made from only all natural ingredients and with a natural fermentation process.”

We received samples from their current range, including Original Hops, Tarragon & Basil, Ginger & Cardamom and Wild Raspberry, which all went down rather well.

Our favourite was the Ginger & Cardamom Mead, which had the right amount of spice from the ginger, which was perfectly balanced with the cardamom. Tarragon & Basil Mead was a close second, with its earthy herby notes coming to the fore, but never over powering.

All four versions were sampled on their own and over ice, which were all extremely refreshing.

I would happily choose a Bemuse mead if I was driving and needed to steer clear of alcohol and didn’t want an alternative to an alcohol-free beer.

The cans are also very well designed and very tactile, as the label is slightly textured and adds another dimension to the experience, especially if you drink from the 330ml cans.

My only criticism of the labelling is that the non-alcohol statement could do with being a little more dominant, because that is one the brand’s selling points: guilt-free enjoyment for adults.

Minor labelling issues aside, given the renaissance of mead and the year-on-year growth of the low- and no-alcohol sector Bemuse is well placed to take advantage of two growing markets that conveniently overlap. And, as consumers continue to want to buy as local as possible, the British-based company offers further benefits over imported brands.

So, if you’re looking for something new, refreshing and good for the environment, you should make a bee-line to Bemuse.

For more information visit their website