We are Hive Mind, started in 2018 by brothers Kit and Matt in the beautiful Wye Valley in the Welsh Borders.
Our journey began in Matt's garage, transformed into a micro-winery, in 2018, where we tested our concept. It became clear that others enjoyed our products, when we took a significant step forward by winning a 2 Star Great Taste Award for our inaugural 300L batch. With demand growing, we swiftly outgrew the garage and began cuckoo brewing at a local brewery in Chepstow, which was in the process of winding down. After renovating the premises once the existing brewery had relocated, we soon outgrew that space as well. This prompted us to move to a larger site in Caldicot one year later, expanding our beekeeping efforts, mead production, and introducing a range of honey-infused beers. We were also thrilled to unveil a taproom, creating a welcoming space for people to enjoy our creations.
During the challenging days of the COVID-19 lockdown, we adapted by swiftly transitioning to an online shop, delivering our products to local farm shops, delicatessens, and garden centres. A fortuitous appearance on BBC Countryfile provided a substantial boost to our reach. We used this time to enhance our brewing operations and design a range of honey-infused beers, including our flagship Traditional Mead, which showcases the exceptional local honey.
Our journey took an exciting turn as we featured on multiple TV shows, such as Kate Humble's Escape to the Farm, BBC Farmers Country Showdown, The Hairy Bikers Go Local, Coast & Country, and more. This exposure helped reintroduce this historical drink albeit with a modern twist, which had been somewhat forgotten. Our products continued to earn accolades, with a 3 Star Great Taste Award in 2022 for our Smoked Honey Porter and another 3 Star for our Traditional Mead in 2023, ultimately winning the Golden Fork Award for Wales.
Mead is an environmentally friendly and sustainable beverage crafted from three core ingredients - water, honey, and yeast, and can be made with ingredients on the doorstep of our meadery. Today, we oversee more than 180 hives of bees in the picturesque lower Wye Valley, transforming their precious honey into innovative sparkling meads and traditional wine-style meads. These creations are not only enjoyed by individuals as they are but also serve as essential ingredients or pairing drinks in two Michelin-starred restaurants, or cocktail ingredients. Our sparkling mead is a nod to the craft mead renaissance in the United States, challenging the typically historically-styled versions of the world's oldest beverage found in the UK and bringing it into the modern era.
Our growth has been accompanied by the addition of three dedicated team members, and we are actively planning further expansions to meet the demands of larger markets. The journey has been marked by a steep learning curve, as neither of us initially had backgrounds in business, food production, or sales. However, with several years of relentless dedication, 80-hour workweeks, and unwavering commitment, we've come to understand the extraordinary possibilities that emerge from sheer determination and a love for what we do.
About the founders:
Matt, while working at a geological company in Bristol, nurtured a growing love for beekeeping. His hives produced an abundance of honey that inspired us to embark on a remarkable journey. Meanwhile, Kit was a graphic and product designer for a tech company in Reading with a background in advertising and marketing. Our common dream was to return to the area in which we grew up, and we soon realised that to make that dream a reality, we had to create something unique and our own.
Our deep love for the natural world, coupled with a keen interest in brewing, led us to transform our honey into modern, contemporary sparkling mead. Our skill sets complemented each other perfectly, providing us with the foundation needed to build our own beverage brand.
“Our products come from a love of nature and a love of this area. The Wye Valley is unique in its biodiversity, which is excellent news for bees. Making mead gives us the opportunity share a piece of what we love with everyone."
"It is really important for me that we do something worthwhile and creative. Matt and I are both very keen on the outdoors, so creating a product that enables us to work closely alongside nature is fantastic. Creating a product of our own and sharing it with the world is hugely satisfying."
What makes our mead different?
We brew our mead in our purpose built meadery in Caldicot with honey from our bees from the Wye Valley, an area well known for its natural beauty and excellent biodiversity. There is a great concentration of small leaf lime trees here which gives our honey quite a distinct flavour. We wanted to make a mead that you can enjoy in the same way as a beer, cider or sparkling wine so we brew to a lower alcohol level than a typical mead. We also bottle condition to get a delicate sparkle into the liquid. This combined with our infusions of seasonal flavours gives us something truly unique and a real flavour of the local area. If you’d like to learn more about the process, join one of our mead making or bee keeping courses!
Cheers! - Hive Mind Mead & Brew Co
Check out our upcoming mead making and beekeeping courses here