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.
“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.