View Full Version : Canadian Mead Regulations...

06-18-2004, 01:38 AM
I came accross this info on the Canadian Honey Council website. Not easy to start a meadery.

The provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and British Columbia have all improved their liquor manufacture licencing regulation in the past five years and added a cottage winery category. Others like Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have no cottage winery category and wineries are expected to be large commercial facilities--2500 hl, or 66050 gallons minimum annual production. Quebec has always had more reasonable liquor laws and the product "hydromel" is available from meaderies in the province.

The cottage winery or farm winery is a relatively new category. This allows beekeepers with a certain number of colonies (50 in NB , 100 in ON) to apply for a wine manufacturing licence. A minimum (often 60%) of the honey used in the mead must be produced by the beekeeper. The other 40% can be bought from off farm. The licence entitles them to on-site sales or to sell to the liquor commission at a set price, provided their production meets a quota. The licencing fee is in the range of $500 to $1100 but this is nothing in comparison to the costs of commercial grade storage tanks, fermentation tanks, labels, bottles, corks and lab fees for testing every batch. Don't think about dumping a bad batch down the drain. The liquor commission has to give permission for disposal. Bookkeeping is essential because there are regular audits. Selling "off site" is exceedingly difficult. Permits are needed for shipping, the truck may not park overnight and alternatives such as courier companies are out of the question as they will not ship alcohol.

Most producers who enjoy making their own mead do not want to take the venture to the commercial stage.

06-18-2004, 02:58 AM
It's regulations like this that keep mead from being easy to find in the stores... :-[

06-20-2004, 02:56 AM
Yeah, in a couple of years I'm hoping to start beekeeping on a small farm my family owns in New Brunswick. But it will be a long time before I have 50 hives. That's a fairly major endeavor on its own even without throwing mead into the bargain. That being said, there are a few Canadian mead producers making a go of it. Again, from the CHC website:

"Vin au Miel Heritage Honey Wine Inc is a company formed by 4 beekeepers in New Brunswick. They sell an apple honey wine for the local market. The company is new on the scene and they have chosen to sell on site at each of their four outlets. Contact Earl Gilbey 506-363-3145, Ralph Lockhart 506-859-8186, Claude Hachey 506-546-6687 or Jacques Levesque, 506-684-5200.

"Munro Meadery, Alvinston ON has set up a meadery which produces three varieties of meads on site. The sweetness ratings are 2, 5 and 7. Contact John Bryans 519-847-5333"

Also, here in Nova Scotia, I've seen bottles of "honeymoon wine" in the liquor stores. I tried it and thought it wasn't bad, but my own mead is just as good if not better. Oddly enough, there was no information on the label about who the producers might be.

12-23-2004, 04:58 AM
I am in the process of starting up a meadery in the Yukon and let me tell you it is tough. The current Liquor Act doesn't allow for any small operations. So it will be a bit of a political fight right off the bat. Right now I have about 8 inches of paper to get through and that's just from the Feds, if the local govt. gets on board I assume there will be an additional 8 from them.
The honeymoon wine you tried in Nova Scotia probably comes from The Lunnenberg Winery. I was there this spring and tried a bottle or two. Not bad but I preffered their crannberry wine