Member Spotlight: Silver Hand Meadery

Date: March 29, 2017

Award-winning Silver Hand Meadery just celebrated their one-year anniversary in business this month! We wanted to congratulate them on their success and hear what they have to say, so our PR and Social Media Specialist, Kayla Kearse, spoke with Glenn Lavender, owner of Silver Hand Meadery.

Read on to learn about how the meadery was founded, the unique process of creating mead, tips for success as a business owner in Williamsburg, exciting new products & the anniversary celebration, MEAD UP! Be sure to also check out their website and their location at 224 Monticello Avenue!

How was Silver Hand Meadery founded? 

I came across mead in beekeeping books and historical fiction novels I was reading while on the road with my band for 12 years. In fact, one of those books is called The Silver Hand. The idea to make and sell mead was born many years ago when I made one of my first batches. I thought it was an interesting and new and delicious drink and it could be a fun business one day. We first opened our doors just before Thanksgiving in 2015 then celebrated our grand opening on March 3 of 2016 just after we released our first bottles of mead.

The process of creating mead is so unique! Could you tell us a little about how it’s made, and what inspired you to start up a Meadery as opposed to a traditional winery?

Mead is made simply by fermenting the sugars found in honey. There are hundreds of honey varietals which means many options are available for flavors and aromas for mead. A traditional mead is made with just honey, water, and yeast and can be sweet or dry but then we can add other ingredients and start to create other styles of meads. We can add things like fruit, or spices, or herbs, or we can even cook the honey to caramelize the sugars and change the flavor. The options are pretty endless.

Congratulations on Silver Hand’s 1-Year Anniversary this month! For those who missed the celebration weekend, can you talk about what MEAD UP is, and the best way they can keep a look out for the next one?

We have an interesting challenge as a member of the craft beverage community in that we are not allowed to sell our product for on site consumption. This means you cannot come in and enjoy a glass of mead or try a flight of meads. So generally our visitors come in and enjoy a honey tasting and follow that up with a mead tasting. They often buy some mead and some honey and are on their way. So that’s our normal operating mode. There is an allowance for a wine manufacturer (this is how we are classified) to apply for a license to be able to allow on site consumption for a 3-4 day period 4 times a year though. It’s actually being increased to 8 as of July! So we decided to use our first one to celebrate our first anniversary and we called the event Mead Up. At Mead Up you could actually come in and enjoy a glass or a flight! We also had live music all weekend and an amazing lunch was available thanks to our friends at The Hounds Tale. We plan to do more so keep watch on our Facebook page, join our email list, check the paper, look for signs in front of our building, and you’ll know when the next one is.

What kind of events or programs in the community has Silver Hand Meadery been a part of?

It’s been a fun year to get involved with a few events around town. We participated in Occasion for the Arts, the fall Harvest Celebration, Alewerks 10th anniversary, W&M Homecoming: Virginia Uncorked, and others. We look forward to being a part of more as 2017 unfolds!

You’ve had a great year winning awards (such as TWO Virginia Wine Governor’s Cup medals!) and being featured on TV for your mead! Do you have any tips for success for local business owners who are just starting out?

A huge benefit for us has been joining the Chamber of Commerce. They have been an amazing partner for us and such a valuable asset to the entire business community in Williamsburg. They do so much to continually bring people to this great destination every day. As far as tips go I’ve found stories and energy to be really important. Be able to tell stories about everything, stories about you, your product, your staff, your building. People are interested in stories and being a part of something rather than just a product. Maintaining my energy as the business owner is also important. Finding ways to stay mentally fed through books, podcasts, events, speakers, exercise, and more are so important. I do this with a range of subjects as well, not just things related to our industry. This gives me opportunity to discover new ideas or ways of thinking that will help drive and grow our business.

Anything additional you would like to spotlight? 

We are looking forward to a mead we are creating for the summer made with Alfalfa honey and strawberries. We are still working on the name and branding but mead tastes amazing and will be a great summer addition to our lineup.

To learn more about Silver Hand Meadery, click here.

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