THINGS are looking up for a Monmouthshire meadery, who are working to change perceptions of a drink often linked to monks and Vikings.

Wye Valley Meadery have recently moved into a new larger premises in Caldicot's Severn Bridge Industrial Estate after growing out of their Chepstow site.

Set up by brothers Kit and Matt Newell, Wye Valley Meadery use locally sourced honey, water and yeast to create a modern take on a drink which has been made for centuries.

"We’re beekeepers originally," said Matt.

"We’ve got hives between Chepstow and Monmouth – on the English and Welsh sides of the border.

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"We've had a challenging year so far, it’s been a really cold spring. Hopefully the summer will turn out a bit better than its looking."

Despite the challenges, Kit said that 2021 had been an "exciting year" so far.

"We had rapidly outgrown our old space near Chepstow train station (which we had only just finished renovating) and wanted to future-proof our business," he said.

"Over lockdown, the mail-order side of our business had grown and this demanded more of our already limited space. We also wanted to open a taproom and had dreams of hosting events like music nights, comedy nights and larger beekeeping and mead making courses.

"We bit the bullet and decided to heap even more work and stress after what had already been an exhausting 12 months."


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The meadery's new building was previously used to house Monmouthshire's museum artefacts, and had been vacant for more than 10 years.

"It was fair to say it needed a bit of sprucing up and a lick of paint," said Kit.

The new space is about four times larger than the meadery's previous spot.

"Initially it was very worrying to scale up mid-pandemic," said Kit

"Especially when the Covid restrictions seemed to go on and on."

Having more space has enabled the launch of more products.

Matt explained that something the meadery were especially proud of was a 14.5 per cent traditional mead.

"It takes a long time to ferment," he said.

"That’s the product we’re most excited about.

"The label artwork is done by an artist from Ross-on-Wye – Jessie Watkins."

Wye Valley Meadery also pioneered a lighter sparkling mead, which is four per cent.

"Everyone thinks of mead as this really heavy sweet drink that monks and Vikings had," said Kit.

"We’re trying to change that into a more modern alternative to beer or cider. It’s gluten free and simply made of honey, water and yeast."

They have also diversified into honey beer, releasing an IPA and a porter already.

The plan now is to have the taproom and seating area open to the general public by the end of July, with the view to hosting boardgame nights, comedy nights and events featuring local food suppliers.

"The sort of thing we’d like to go to, if we do it here, that way we get to go to it," said Kit.