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Mead History

Mead was the first alcohol. Our hunter gatherer ancestors discovered it fermenting in the hollows of bee hive laden trees. Rainwater and wild yeast mixed with the honey and wah-laa, hunting and gathering got a lot more fun.

Cultures popped up around the world and mead was a part of them. From 7000 BC China, to 4000 BC India, 3000 BC Turkey, 2000 BC Middle East to 1000 AD Central America, Europe, Scandanavia… the monks and warriors and wise people around the world made and shared mead. Shakespeare, Gilgamesh, Tolkein, Homer, Harry Potter, Chaucer all include mead… we could go on, but suffice it to say, mead was a global tradition since the beginning of human culture.

“A drink I took of the Magic Mead, and I began to know and to be wise, to grow and to weave poems” - Odin, The All Father of the Norse People in the Epic poem The Runahal

“Give beer to the weary, wine to the sick at heart and [mead] to those that are close to death.” -Proverbs, Torah/Old Testament

“In the widestriding Vishnu’s highest footsteps, there is a spring of Mead” -Rig Veda

While mead was a mainstay in cultures across the world, it is hard to find commercially. Beer and wine and spirits are cheaper and easier to produce.

Mead on the other hand, is an art made reproducible by science. While no two batches of honey will ever be the same, we can make some of our meads relatively consistent. For more on our meads, visit the our meads page. To Buy mead, visit our shop. To Order Meads for your Business, contact us here: orders@goldencoastmead.com.

Our HISTORY

Golden Coast Mead started October 24th, 2010.

We rented space from Triple B Ranches winery in Valley Center, CA. We did a custom crush. We went from making 5 gallon batches to 300 gallon batches there.

But our story starts before that. Our founder, Frank Golbeck and his two co-founders, Joe Colangelo and Praveen Ramineni, were friends at UC Berkeley. The summer after freshman year, Frank was helping his grandfather clean out his garage and there in the attic of the garage was an old case of bottles. A bottle of raspberry wine, a bottle of pear wine, a bottle of grape wine. A bottle of apple wine, another bottle of grapewine. A bottle of mead. Frank’s grandfather’s last bottle of mead.

Frank’s grandfather was an apple grower who retired from growing apples and had a little tasting room where he sold all sorts of fermentables. But the mead was the magical one.

Frank would watch his grandfather pour the mead from behind the bar and watch as grumpy old people transformed into laughing friendly people.

Frank read Beowulf and Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and mead, the drink of vikings and wizards and elves, was the stuff his grandpa made and sold.

He had to get his hands on some. However, there was none to be had anywhere. Until that summer day, cleaning out the attic in the garage.

Frank’s grandpa gave him that last bottle. Frank brought it up to school with him. He shared it with his girlfriend at the time who is now his wife. They decided that they needed more mead in their lives.

Frank started making small batches. Pretty soon, people started drinking five gallons in a night, Frank’s friends Joe and Praveen among them. Dance parties would ensue. Once, one of those dance parties spawned a dance off and someone slid across the floor on their knees and ripped off their shirt.

Joe once said to Frank, “You know, Frank, people like this stuff. That means that they’ll probably give us money for it.”

Frank looked back incredulously.

Joe: “No really, that’s what a business does. It makes things that people want and people give them money for it.”

A seed was planted.

After school, Frank was in the Navy. It was where Frank learned how to work hard. 16 hour days, 7 days a week for the better part of two and a half years while his ship was getting deployed, or ready for deployment or fixed after running aground while on deployment.

It was… a little rough.

Frank’s wife intervened. Frank had come home from work one night and simply laid upon the ground after crossing the threshold of their little cottage in Kensington, a small neighborhood in San Diego.

She saw that Frank was not happy. She said, “Frank, I don’t think you are happy. I don’t think this is the way that we want to spend our lives. What if you had all of the time, money and energy in the world, what would you do?”

Frank realized this was the best question that we can ask ourselves and each other. It is a practical approach to creating one’s own heaven on earth. But I digress, I am writing a history piece here, not a philosophy tract.

Frank answered her (after a few days thinking between chasing down parts and repairs and standing watch on his ship), “I would farm, live in community and make and share mead.”

Frank’s wife said, “Sounds good, let’s figure out how to make a living and do that.”

So, Frank called Joe. They started scheming. Joe and Frank shared mead with Praveen. They got him to join the team. They pooled their resources. They wrote 60 cold emails looking for a place to make mead semi-professionally. They got three emails back - one from Greenflash Brewing, one from Ballast Point, both saying they couldn’t make mead legally and one from Triple B Ranches.

Call it fate. Call it luck. Obi Wan would call it The Force.

Frank might say it was the Mead Gods’ doing.

One batch of Orange Blossom Mirth in a Bottle released in June of 2011 after hiking the first three bottles from Valley Center to be plunged into the Pacific Ocean.

Another batch of OB Mirth (sparkling this time - incredibly good).

Two batches that got stuck and failed. Got distilled.

Three more batches of OB Mirth. Then a farmhouse batch in Ramona. Made in a barn with dirt floors and no lights. Once, when Frank and Joe were cleaning tanks in the middle of the night to execute an emergency mead transfer, Joe was holding up his cell phone flashlight while Frank washed the tank from the inside in his board shorts. Joe said, “You know Frank, if the universe is really infinite, it means somewhere somebody is paying to do what I’m doing right now.”

If the universe really is infinite, there is an earth where everyone gets to do what they’d do if they had all of the time, money and energy in the world.

We hope that one of the things you’d do in that universe is enjoy the magic of mead.

Since our founding, many people have helped us build this dream. We are a team of dreamers and doers, garage scientists and wild eyed schemers. Some of us hear the celestial music regularly. Some of us like nothing more than the pleasure of finding something out. Some of us are vagabonds and slow money-ers and one of us basically built skynet.

All of us love to delight people. All of us love mead.

We welcome you to join us, and share your gifts with the world.

-If you liked this story, or it inspired you in any way, please consider buying some mead from us here, and after you place your order, share with us and our community what you’d do if you had all of the time, money and energy in the world @goldencoastmead on IG and Facebook. #Allthetimemoneyandenergyintheworld.