OSSIPEE — The local creators of award-winning meads, that honey-based alcoholic beverage with ancient roots, are racking up the accolades themselves.
Ash Fischbein, 33, and Matt Trahan, 26, local graduates of Kingswood Regional High School, first opened the Sap House Meadery to the public in a modest storefront in Center Ossipee in 2011. While the first few years were a learning experience during challenging economic times, the duo weathered the storm.
To date, their meads, created in many flavors with as many locally or New Hampshire grown ingredients as possible, have garnered dozens of regional and national awards. Six of the meads garnered medals in international competitions. So it is equally sweet that just this month, members of the state business and tourism community acknowledged the founders themselves.
The New Hampshire Travel Council, upon a recommendation from the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, bestowed its 2014 Business Excellence award to Sap House Meadery during an award ceremony and luncheon on May 6 at the 38th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism. On May 28, the New Hampshire chapter of the Small Business Administration will bestow its “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” to the founders during a ceremony in Manchester.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s a huge tip of the hat to us and to what we’re trying to do,” said Fischbein. The business has grown to the point customer can purchase Sap House Meadery products throughout New England.
“We’re up to 130 or 140 accounts in New Hampshire and distributed in seven states outside of New Hampshire,” added Fischbein. The meadery’s logo “Not all meads are created equal” and the founders explain why. All of their meads are handcrafted in small batches.
When the meadery first opened, both Fischbein and Trahan worked at least one full-time job other than at the Meadery. Today, both are fully employed creating and marketing the meads they worked hard to get into the public eye and palette.
“We faced economic adversity and sometimes it’s a grind, but we love it,” Trahan said.
Fischbein said the Meadery’s products are sold mostly to locally owned and operated stores and venues in New Hampshire. The founders made a conscious decision not to distribute to large supermarket chains to protect the pricing and integrity of the product.
“This is a product that needs to be hand sold,” he said. Another way the public can enjoy meads is by joining the new “Club Mead.” Club members can sign up to receive meads every other month at a 15 percent discount on all meads and merchandise purchased in the tasting room, a 20 percent discount on two or more cases purchased at the storefront or online, and 25 percent off reorders of select meads.
Fischbein said one aspect of mead making is in educating the public as to what mead is and how its made. Both Trahan and Fischbein educate and entertain customers who stop into the exclusive meadery during tasting hours.
Mead or honey wine is an alcoholic beverage created by the fermentation of water and honey. Mead’s alcohol content can vary greatly between mild and strong, and it can range between still and sparkling. Similar to grape wine, mead can be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.
The Sap House Meadery is located at 6 Folsom Road in Center Ossipee. Visit the Sap House on Facebook or during open hours, weekends from 1 to 5 p.m., for tastings and tours.