TWO beekeeping craft brewer brothers behind Wye Valley Meadery have won a national award for their take on the world’s oldest drink, mead.

Matt Newell and his brother Kit keep more than six million bees in the Wye Valley - fermenting the honey they produce at their meadery in Caldicot.

South Wales Argus:

The pair were awarded first place in the Brew Accelerator programme, for their sparkling mead range, a modern take on the historic drink and is infused with natural flavours.

Wye Valley Meadery was set up in 2018 by Matt, who had spent 20 years beekeeping as a hobby, and younger brother Kit, who comes from a marketing and product development background.

South Wales Argus:

They saw off competition from London-based Better World Brewing Company, Flowerhorn Brewery in Cardiff and craft beer firm Fauna Brewing.   

They claimed the top prize of a year of mentoring and guidance, valued at £50,000, at the BrewLDN event in Printworks, London, which were held last month.

South Wales Argus:

Judges were impressed with how passionate the pair were about their brand as well as the quality of its products and its potential for growth.  

The Newell brothers are now planning a major expansion in on-trade sales after doubling their turnover during the pandemic due to a rise in online purchases. They have also opened a tap room at the Meadery. 

South Wales Argus:

Matt Newell said: “I’ve enjoyed beekeeping as a hobby for more than 20 years. 

“Its popularity has really boomed in recent years because of shows like Vikings and Game of Thrones, and we’ve grown pretty rapidly as a business since starting over four years ago.  

“Our turnover has more than quadrupled since our first year, and we’re enjoying getting more in tune with our market and customers.”

South Wales Argus:

The business plan Wye Valley Meadery submitted to Brew Accelerator will be quickly escalated to focus on their sparkling mead range, and to grow production of kegs and cans for on-trade.

They have already sold their first keg following the launch at the Brew London event and plan to expand on that regionally, and then grow its sales across the UK. 

Further expansion plans in the coming years include opening their own off-site mead bar and exporting the drink to the Far East and Eastern Europe. 

The pair, who are due to appear on BBC’s The Hairy Bikers later this year, now produce 4,000 litres of the drink a month, which has a four per cent alcohol content and comes in a variety of flavours.  

Kit Newell said: “We can’t wait to see how we can move forward the business in the coming years.”