After spending time in Kodiak, Alaska as a “Deadliest Catch”-style commercial fisherman, Jeremy VanSice returned home to Michigan with lots of stories and some cash in hand. Jeremy’s entrepreneurial spirit wouldn’t allow him to sit idly, so with the smell of cod barely out of his clothes, he got to work. He cornered off a section of his in-laws’ pole barn with the intention of starting a natural soda business.
One day, while taking a break from laboring in the musty barn, Jeremy walked his in-laws’ farmland – far from the vast Alaskan seascape. While deep in thought about creating a sustainable and commercially viable soda business, he stumbled upon an unkempt old cabin nestled in the woods. Opening the doors to the abandoned cabin was like opening Pandora’s box. Brushing away dust and cobwebs, Jeremy uncovered curious artifacts that would change everything. An unknowing explorer may have dismissed the equipment as old farm gear, but Jeremy knew exactly what it was for. He had uncovered an old honey house with all the supplies necessary for keeping bees and harvesting honey. That’s when he decided to switch from soda to mead.
Jeremy’s brother Chris was somewhat of an amateur meadmaker and the two brothers have always had a close relationship. Growing up in Michigan, they always enjoyed embarking on new adventures together. Teaming up with Chris was a natural choice for Jeremy. They both made mead for years with mixed results from their early batches. “The first mead I made was a Joe’s Ancient Orange recipe I found online,” Chris explained. “Despite everyone else’s success, it wasn’t very good.”
As time progressed, the brothers began using their honey along with fruit from neighboring orchards. Chris dug deep into the meadmaking process with online forums and extensive research and practice. With good fruit, better honey and improved meadmaking techniques, the VanSices’ mead greatly improved. Under the tutelage of Nels “The Mead Man” Velliquette, they dialed their recipes just right, creating a blueberry mead that received gold in both the 2012 and 2013 Mazer Cup Competition. This, according to Chris, will be their flagship offering.
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