Meet the Man Behind the Mead

Historic St. Luke’s Museum Interpreter Nicole Lichty Interviews Glenn Lavender, Founder and Owner of Silver Hand Meadery

Photo of Glenn Lavender holding a glass of mead.

Founder and owner of Silver Hand Meadery, Glenn Lavender.

Mead is an historic fermented honey drink that goes back for centuries. Though mead has a long history, not many know about this historic drink. It is an alcoholic beverage composed of 25% honey, 75% water and yeast with spices and flavors added in. Oftentimes the mixture will only be fermented for 9 weeks but some meads are fermented for years. In a search to gain better insight into the world of mead, Nicole Lichty interviewed Glenn Lavender, the founder and owner of Silver Hand Meadery.

Glenn Lavender: From Bee Keeping to Mead Tasting

Glenn Lavender first dreamt of opening a meadery after his interest in beekeeping led him to read two pages in a beekeeping magazine about the equipment used to make mead. At the time, he was reading an historical fiction entitled “Silver Hand” by Steve Lawhead, which explored sovereignty, power, and mead throughout the book. This novel inspired the name of Lavender’s business, Silver Hand Meadery. About 10 years ago, he began to make his own mead as it was not easy to find. What started out as an interest in mead soon developed into a business plan.

In 2012, Lavender and his wife decided to move from Canada for a new experience, which included opening their own meadery. They carefully chose a Williamsburg, Virginia location because of Williamsburg’s culture and historical connections. Lavender described the culture of the Williamsburg area as one that loves learning and is filled with people searching for new experiences. This ultimately made Williamsburg the perfect location for Lavender’s meadery. Silver Hand Meadery opened its doors in November 2015. Only a few months later, they were already creating their own meads.

When creating a new mead, Lavender described it as a multi-faceted process. He often begins by taking food and drinks that him and his wife enjoy and figuring out how to bring them into the world of mead. He also considers the different types of honey, a very crucial part of the mead. Lavender must then also consider the different spices and flavors available that can be mixed in to make these uniquely flavored drinks. In addition, he explores what people might enjoy by reading through previous reviews. For example, the “Strawberry Swing Mead” sold out in 5 weeks. Based on the popularity of this mead, Lavender now knows that his market typically enjoys a sweeter mead.

Music has always been a huge part of Glenn Lavender’s life. In fact, he toured as a member of the band “Downhere” for 12 years. Lavender wanted to incorporate this love for music into Silver Hand Meadery and did so by naming the meads after songs. For example, the name for “Dream by the Fire” was inspired by the song “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” by Dean Martin. Many of his staff share his love for music as well.

What are Glenn Lavender’s plans for Silver Hand Meadery? Keep making mead and make even more of it! Silver Hand Meadery continues to create and develop new mead flavors and ideas. Lavender wants to see how the business will grow organically and see where things go from there. Based on people’s reviews, they thoroughly enjoy the educational experience of the tasting. Because of this, Lavender hopes to create a more educational atmosphere by possibly adding a honeybee garden and honey hives.

Historic St. Luke’s and an Historic Beverage

Are you interested in tasting some of this music-inspired mead? Historic St. Luke’s will be having a Mead Tasting Fundraiser on Saturday, September 9th at 3 p.m. Tickets are only $10.00 per person.  The tasting will consist of six unique meads from Silver Hand Meadery and all the proceeds will benefit the Education Program at Historic St. Luke’s. Tickets are limited and should be purchased in advance. Must be 21 years of age or older to participate. Proof of I.D. will be required.