NYS to accept applications for new farm meaderies

The state is now accepting new license applications to operate farm meaderies, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

What is mead? Mead is an alcoholic beverage made with fermented honey. It can be infused with various flavor like fruits and spices, and it has become one of the fastest-growing segments in the craft beverage industry, according to Vincent Bradley, chairman of the State Liquor Authority.

W A Meadwerks in Lindenhurst is currently Long Island’s only meadery since the closing of Long Island Meadery in Holbrook, according to a recent profile. Operated by founding partners Roger Wanner and Joseph Abruzzo, Jr., the Meadwerks tasting room has a wide selection of cleverly-named specialty offerings from the two mead makers, also shown on its website.

For example, their ‘Orange Ya Glad’ is made with orange blossom honey, which typically comes the blossoms of orange trees. Their ‘Cool as a Cucumber’ recipe is a summer-themed cucumber-lime mead, and a cherry variety is aged in a whiskey barrel with orange zest.

As the region’s top honey producer and one of the country’s top craft beverage makers, New York is the perfect state for making mead. In fact, the state is ranked first for its number of hard cider producers, second for craft distillers and fourth for most wineries.

Now with the state’s new effort, more farm meaderies might begin brewing on the Island.

Richard Ball, the state’s agricultural commissioner, expects a boost in demand for local mead and its ingredients, which could translate to more jobs for Long Islanders, especially on the East End where dozens of wineries have thrived.