Artesano is a small craft Meadery in Groton VT, a rural town off the beaten path. Luckily, being from Vermont, I had the opportunity to take a brief detour when driving up to visit my parents.
Artesano was started by Mark Simakaski and his wife Nicole Wolfgang. Mark, a bit of a serial entrepreneur, started and sold three other companies before finding his way to Vermont and mead.
At the time Mark and I had just come back from the Peace Corps as the first step in our plan to make a significant life change.We both knew we wanted to work together in a venture that meant something to both of us. Artesano was the answer.
They started with beekeeping and home brewing. Mark had given Nicole a hive as a present. Once they started producing mead, they quickly realized that keeping bees and making mead were both full time jobs. They now use local honey providers and focus on their mead productions. The honey isn’t the only thing they they source locally – they only use seasonal local ingredients when crafting their mead.
Mark and I find inspiration from our local farmers and food producers.We keep strictly to local, real and fresh. One year the local raspberry crop did not produce so we moved to blackberries and it was a hit.
If you plan on visiting their Meadery, make sure you go in the summer. After giving their meads a try, step outside to their ice-cream window and order one of their unique homemade flavors. Nicole recommends the “bees knees” a peanut butter ice-cream with honey drizzle, inspired by the simple delight of a peanut butter and honey sandwich. I tried the bee pollen, which was deliciously different than any other ice-cream i’ve eaten.
Though they continue to grow significantly, mark and Nicole wish to stay small, focus on their craft, their community and their family. Nicole sees the extensive growth of the mead market and expects Artesano to be right there with it “but we still are focused on staying small enough to maintain the high quality of our product and balance work life with home life.” Vermont is the perfect place for the type of Meadery and business they are building.