Published: 06:00, 14 February 2020
In the last few years, the gin market has exploded, Kentish vineyards are achieving worldwide recognition and the popularity of beer continues it’s constant hum. But there is one drink that’s still pretty rare to come by...
Thought to be the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage, with the first evidence of the drink dating back to 7,000 BC, Mead is made by fermenting honey with water. Demand for the sweet drink has waxed and waned over the centuries with mumblings of mead all going a bit quiet recently - something William Boscawen. from Mereworth, is eager to change.
The Boscawen family have been farming the fields around Mereworth for more than 250 years. Over the centuries, their hops, apples and grapes have gone into many of England’s finest beers and ciders, and more recently, wine. Booze, you could say, is in their blood.
After a long career in marketing and finance, William decided to return to his farming roots in Kent in 2015. Within a year, he had planted his first vineyard.
He built a winery in a garage and a year later, a bigger winery at Brewers Hall food centre down the road. He produced his first commercial vintage of English Sparkling Wine in 2018.
At this point, William had enough confidence to turn his hand to something completely new - the reinvention of mead - and Marourde was born.
In its first year - 2018 - the beverage won Kent’s Food Product and Kent Specialist Drink of the Year.The drink is brewed in-house at Brewers Hall Oast, taking inspiration from local botanicals and honey from the 70 hives on the Estate. At the moment, the company is stocking its original 4% medium-dry sparkling mead spritz, with a rose version is launching soon.
William said: “I was inspired to start producing mead because it’s such a beautiful drink with deep roots running through Kent. But I didn’t want to bring back the syrupy sweet stuff of yesteryear - I wanted to reinvent the traditional mead. Adding a sparkle makes a drink a little bit special - it makes it celebratory.”
You can try Marourde mead at drinks festival, Discover Local Heroes in Tunbridge Wells on Sunday, February 23.
The fair will see producers of wine, gins, ciders and more gather to celebrate the unique tastes of alcoholic beverages made in Kent and Sussex.
William said: “It’s great to speak to other producers in the county as we are all very similar in that we are offering local, Kentish products.”
Held at the Camden Centre, the event is running from noon to 6pm. Tickets are available for two hour entry plus one free drink from the Bathtub Gin Bar. Producers will be happy to give let you taste before you buy.
Discover new tipples brought to you from established companies such as Copper Rivet Distillery and the lesser known Jake’s Beers and Ciders - produced by the son of Hush Heath Estate’s owners, and Greensand Ridge Distillery. There will also be plenty of delicious nibbles from food stands - so you can pair your drink with something tasty.
You can also book into a Mayfield Sussex Hop Gin and Brew masterclass to learn how two popular drinks - gin and beer - are mixed to make something unique and yummy.
Festival tickets are £15 and masterclass session £6 from discoverlocalevents.co.uk.
But if you can’t make the drinks fair, you can buy the mead from the Goods Shed in Canterbury, Macknade Food Hall in Faversham, and William is hoping to be at Pub in the Park and the Kent County Show in the summer.
Four facts about marvellous mead
1 It’s thought to be the worlds oldest drink - residue has been found in China from 9,000 years ago.
2 It has its own drinks category - like beer, wine and cider, mead is classed as a distinct type of alcohol.
3 A bee’s specific diet can determine the flavour of honey and mead. Also, a single honey bee produces just 1/12 tsp of honey in its lifetime!
4 The word honeymoon is down to mead traditionally being enjoyed for a full moon cycle after marriage - it’s the original aphrodisiac.
More by this authorRebecca Tuffin