New York state's first farm meadery license was celebrated today at an Albany County business.
Last December, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Cuomo signed legislation authorizing the licensing of farm meaderies for the production and sale of mead made exclusively from honey produced within the state.
Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, which can be infused with fruits, spices, herbs and flowers. Royal Meadery is owned and operated by Gregory and Kristen Wilhelm: "So I was a beekeeper and I had a ton of honey, and what else do you do? You make mead. I started when I was going back to college for my business degree and I was speaking with a college professor who said 'you need to combine your two passions together, merge them together into something you love,' and that was the foundation for Royal Meadery. So while I was a student at SUNY Cobleskill, we created a business plan, refined the business plan and then I started the business my senior year."
State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley joined a host of elected officials at the Royal Meadery Thursday. "Under the governor's leadership and through close collaboration with the industry and the legislature, we've invested millions in marketing and manufacturing support, lowered taxes and fees, instituted a host of regulatory reforms and created new licenses like the mead license and farm brewery cideries to increase the level of economic development in this industry. These efforts are working and our craft and beverage industry is thriving since the governor's first craft beverage summit in 2012. Since that summit the number of craft manufacturers statewide has more than doubled from 491 to over 1100 manufacturers today."
New York state Assemblywoman Pat Fahy is an Albany Democrat: "We know that small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, especially here in upstate, but it's good for us, agricultural industry, because of all the products that you use it's just a win-win-win."
Bethlehem Town Supervisor David VanLuven says businesses like Royal Meadery are good for the community... "...places that draw people together, where neighbors can walk, where there are some nearby neighborhoods from the rail trail, which Albany County does a fantastic job maintaining. It's a place where a family can come and enjoy a glass of mead, a glass of root beer, meet their neighbors, meet new neighbors. It's a wonderful place."
Royal Meadery’s Wilhelm expects the new license will stimulate business growth.