If you happen to arrive by mistake at the dead end of Shafter Avenue in Bayview, consider parking. Here you'll find the little-known warehouse headquarters of San Francisco Mead Company, where a husband-wife duo is brewing one of the world's oldest libations by the thousands of gallons-full.
This is the domain of owners Sarah and Oron Benary, vocal craft mead producers whose biggest hurdle is educating drinkers on what mead is...and what it isn't. Let’s start with the basics.
Mead is an alcoholic, fermented beverage that must contain honey, water, and yeast. From there, you could add any variety of spices, herbs, and fruits for a unique flavor. Mead can be sparkling or flat, sweet or dry. But at its core, it’s about the honey.
For SF Mead Company, the Benarys source their honey from the forests of Mendocino for a drink that tastes like a dry wine. Some are flavored, with the most popular being Apple Pie, which is fermented with apple cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. (The couple also owns Brothers Drake Meadery in Columbus, Ohio, where they produce 13 different varieties and sell 10,000 gallons per year.)
Tours with these mead makers are offered once or twice a month by appointment, or for drop-in tastings and bottle sales on Saturdays between noon and 6pm. You can also pick up some bottles to try locally at Bi-Rite, Whole Foods, and Rainbow Grocery. Enjoy the photos! // San Francisco Mead Co., 1180 Shafter Ave. (Bayview), sfmead.com