Brothers Drake Meadery was established in 2007 in Worthington, Ohio when fewer than 40 meaderies existed in the United States. The origin of our namesake refers to the Drake brothers, Eric and Woody, who were creating mead well before one could readily find home brewing kits. Since then, we’ve grown up alongside the community around us; now offering a full bar, live music and of course, mead in the Short North Arts District.
We continue to fuel the growth of our community by educating our patrons through tours, demonstrations and dynamic collaborations with other local artisans. The Team at Brothers Drake Meadery is a pivotal part of how - and why - we do business. Local isn't just about the ingredients in our mead. It's the people around us that make and sell. When we support our team to work with fair wages and be a part of creating a local economy, we empower them to bring their skills and talents to a wider audience in a more effective way.
We know you're here for the delicious meads we craft every day, but you'll stay because you'll find some truly creative and interesting new friends at Brothers Drake. Learn more about them below.
Mead is an ancient form of a fermented beverage that uses honey as its primary sugar source. It’s believed to be the ancestor of all fermented drinks. Mead predates agriculture and has been found in every culture that has access to honey. Traces were found from around 7,000 BC in China with popular mentions in ancient Greece, pre Bronze Age Europe and Africa throughout history.
Modern meaderies in the U.S. have begun to put mead back in the spotlight. Drawing from ancient recipes, concocting new and evolving the process of mead making has produced a consumer drink that has bucked the system a bit on the old beer and wine standards.
Mead is available in endless styles from beer style Braggots, to sparkling or still wines. At Brothers Drake we craft still, wine style mead. While we consider ‘wine’ to be made from grape juice, our meads do draw similar characteristics and flavors from solely grape and fruit juice wines. Mead, however, with honey as its primary sugar source for fermentation has a history of all the flowers from which the honey was made.
Our mead is simple. We use local honey and local ingredients whenever possible. Much of the work we do is to create an increasingly closer supply of raw materials from honey, fruit and spice to packaging and business partners.
Of course, using the best ingredients gives us the best taste. We work with suppliers that use organic farming practices, so nature does most of the work there. We minimally process our ingredients and never add sulfites. The equation is pretty simple – quality raw materials go in, amazing mead comes out.
This amazing elixir of bees has lured man to collect it for centuries.
Honey is a sweet product made from flower nectar, combined with an enzyme secreted by honey bees. Then it’s concentrated by reducing moisture in the honeycomb cells. A basic scientific formula is as follows : Sucrose (nectar) + invertase (bee enzyme) = fructose + glucose (honey).
Honeybees don’t just gather the nectar, they change the nectar chemically. They produce an enzyme called invertase in their salivary glands. Enzymes are organic compounds that speed up a biochemical reaction. These enzymes are not used up in the reaction, so they can be used over and over again. Invertase helps change sucrose into equal parts glucose and fructose. It’s the beginning of honey.
Glucose is easier to digest and it’s what makes honey sweeter. Another enzyme, glucose oxidase, then breaks down the glucose and stabilizes the pH of the honey. Catalase changes hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen.
Honey is hydroscopic, meaning it collects moisture. If it’s left uncovered, honey will begin to collect moisture from the atmosphere. This extra moisture in the honey will allow the yeast to begin the fermentation process. Normally, honey has a low moisture content which helps in preservation. If, however, its moisture content rises above 25%, it will begin to ferment. That’s why collecting capped honey from a bee hive is a good idea. It has a lower moisture content and is much less likely to ferment – but also why we have the delightful byproduct of mead.
Honey is produced in every state of the U.S. The USDA estimates that there are over 266 million colonies in the U.S. with the average colony producing 59 pounds of honey. What makes these numbers most remarkable is that honey isn’t manmade. It’s only guided by man. The true chemists in the production of honey are the bees. Their ability to seek out and convert nectar into honey has resulted in literally hundreds of different floral varieties of honey.
At Brothers Drake, we believe the true terrior of mead comes from using local honey to express the flavor of the region in which it was produced. We use only raw unfiltered and unheated honey to preserve the characteristics of flavor.
FOR THE FUTURE
We ultimately feel that in order to envision and construct a future where we have a habitable planet and enough to go around, we need to take action to reduce the wasting of resources, produce locally, and support people that are doing the same.
We love sending this message with such a tasty treat from bees that work so hard to support the food we eat. We have a lot of work ahead of us all. At the end of the day, we all need to know our work was not wasted and we should all be able to sit down to a good drink together.
The team at Brothers Drake is committed to building a business that begins to redefine all those ‘green’ buzzwords. Local and sustainable are thrown around a lot – we do it too. But to really build a new economy for community that preserves our resources and begins to create more equality and corporate responsibility, we need to act on these values.
Here’s how we are doing it:
1. Local Raw Materials.
Since Oron Benary began directing the meadery in 2010, we have had a firm commitment to only using Ohio sourced honey as the primary fermentable ingredient in our meads and glass bottles made in the USA. This, along with the water we use, accounts for at least 95% of the materials we use from hive to bottle in our products. The concept is simple - the smaller our circle of consumption is, the more accurately we can assess our impact on the resources we have. We can pay the true cost of our products, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and be better stewards of our local environment - both natural and economic.
2. Creating communal ‘third space’.
The term Third Space or Third Place was coined by the sociologist Ray Oldenburg in the early 90s in his book The Great Good Place.
It’s a space where people meet to unwind, discuss and talk about things that matter to them, their neighbourhood and their community, where they can let down their guard, relax, be themselves, develop new friendships and deepen existing ones. It’s a space distinct both from the work environment where communication and interaction can be functional, stereotyped and superficial and distinct from the domestic space of home and family life. Third spaces have been ways “a community develops and retains a sense of cohesion and identity”. They are about sociability, not isolation.
3. Fair wages for employees.
Our time is our most valuable resource. Fair wages allow people to be healthy and engaged members of our society. Having a healthy group of employees has a great impact on our community, and goes beyond just writing paychecks. It helps us recruit top talent, and it makes for a more loyal workforce and lower turnover which reduces training costs. We choose to spend money with businesses that share my values and we think our customers do, too. Many people working full time on today’s minimum wage aren’t able to support themselves. I believe that as a community, we have to be willing to make some changes so that everyone in our city can have a chance to thrive.
4. Limited distribution
Making with locally sourced materials is only half the equation. Distributing them locally closes the loop on resource management and keeps both our local economy and local environment healthy.