ROCK SPRINGS — Brad Allen said is never tired of telling the story of how he became known as the Mead King to his friends and family when people walk into The Mead King’s Village Hall in Rock Springs.
Allen, a resident of Reedsburg, said he started making mead at the suggestion of a friend who was teaching mead making classes. Allen and his friend produced mead as a hobby, taking it to share on camping trips and family events. Those around him kept encouraging Allen to apply for a liquor license and begin the process of starting his own business.
He came across a location at 110 East Broadway Street in Rock Spring, the old village hall. He relates the concept of the village hall to the old European and Norse days, when kings hosted village feasts in a mead hall.
“A lot of the little fun things just kind of happened and they work beautifully so I just ran with it,” Allen said.
Allen produces, sells and hosts tastings at the East Broadway Street location and hopes to experiment making different meads. The first product he released was a Cyser mead, a cider based mead fermented with honey. He produces other types of mead flavors, like cherry chocolate, smoky, and hibiscus and rose hip. He made 220 bottles of Cyser and sold 115 on his first opening weekend in mid-March. Six weeks after the first opening, he sold out of the first batch he produced commercially.
He said people visit the meadery from all over the local area, not only from Reedsburg and Rock Springs, but also Madison, Stoughton and Camp Douglas.
He doesn’t use any additives or filtering so the mead is “ready when it is ready” when it comes to the fermenting process, he said. It take about three months to produce one batch.
One sample of mead during a tasting is on the house, Allen said. Bottles are available for purchase at the Mead King’s Village Hall for $20 apiece and includes tax. A Mead King glass and corkscrews are $10 apiece and bottle openers are $7.
Allen said he’s working on setting up a website and meeting regulations to for online orders. He wants to keep the buildings original character, but also wants to renovate it by moving production in the basement area of the building and the upstairs as retail space. He also hopes to have pictures of the village hall in Rock Springs aligning the building to showcase its history and uses, including the time from when it was a church.
Allen said the hours of the meadery vary because in addition to expanding and renovating the meadery, he is balancing his full time job as a field technician for Spectrum. Allen said he’s at the location in Rock Springs Thursday and Friday depending on his schedule and 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.
After the latest batch of mead is ready, he will be open every weekend he can until the mead is gone. He hopes to host another mead tasting at end of May in Rock Springs and begin hosting mead making classes.
He also wants the business to bring people and hope to Rock Springs, especially after the damage the village sustained after the 2018 floods. The village is making plans relocating its residential, commercial and business district out about a quarter to a half mile away from its current location out the flood plain onto higher ground. He’s hoping as the meadery expands and brings more people, it will open other opportunities for the village to expand in other areas, like constructing a restaurant.
“I’m hoping to bring a lot of people in once I get even bigger,” Allen said.