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Scalloway man plans new Viking tipple

Mead from Scalloway is set to be the next locally produced drink to enter the market.

SHETLAND is set to add mead to its burgeoning home-grown drinks industry.

Alistair Morgan, who lives in Scalloway, has launched Viking Mead and hopes to start full-scale production next year once premises are secured and equipment is in place.

The human resources worker has already been making mead – a drink closely associated with Viking heritage that is made from fermented honey – at home.

The alcohol content of mead generally ranges between eight and 20 per cent and it may be still or carbonated.

“I started doing it as a hobby, using brewing gear from my grandfather,” Morgan said.

Self-mead man Alistair Morgan

“With the Norse mythology and all the history that it has, I thought it would be quite fitting for Shetland. I figured there might a market for it, so I thought I’d just go for it.”

As production scales up, Morgan will look for dedicated premises for the business – something which has proven to be the “biggest challenge” so far.

The company who made Lerwick Brewery’s equipment is on board, while a mainland honey supplier has also been secured.

“You need 200 to 300 kilos of honey per brew,” he said.

“Originally I thought about doing it with local honey, but there’s no way you could get a consistent supply of that amount.”

Shetland has seen a relative boom in its drinks industry in recent years, with the Lerwick Brewery beer and Shetland Distillery Company’s gin and whisky products joining the long-standing Valhalla ales.

It’s the success of these companies, both at home and nationally, that has encouraged Morgan to take his mead production to the next level.

“I’m a big fan of craft beer and seeing the success of those kind of businesses is quite encouraging,” he said.

“There’s quite a range now. There’s the gin and the whisky, and the different kind of beers, and I think mead will fit in quite nicely with that.”

Beer lovers, meanwhile, are no closer to seeing BrewDog open a bar in Shetland.

A campaign was launched last year to encourage 200 people to become shareholders of the company – the amount required before it considers opening a pub in an area.

However, BrewDog this week confirmed that only around 50 shareholders are present in Shetland.

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021