A Meadery Grows in Brooklyn
And former Disney Channel star Dylan Sprouse is behind it.
Brooklyn is home to breweries, wineries, and distilleries making everything from small-batch whiskey to moonshine, and now, thanks to a former Disney Channel star and his co-founders, a brand-new meadery. All-Wise, helmed by The Suite Life of Zack & Cody actor Dylan Sprouse, along with partners Doug Brochu and Matt Kwan, is launching pre-orders of its first ever batch of signature mead starting Monday, May 7.
Perhaps best known as the drink of choice in the Middle Ages and at Renaissance fairs, mead has been around for millennia, but the drink has made a grand comeback in recent years. (Two decades ago, there were only about 30 meaderies in the U.S.; now there are over 500.) And All-Wise is doing its part to modernize the reputation of the ancient alcoholic drink made with water and fermented honey. According to the brand, most meads available today are excessively sweet and strong, many with an ABV (alcohol by volume) upwards of 20 percent, but by using simple, local ingredients and a straightforward brewing process, All-Wise purports to have developed the formula for a crisp, dry version that clocks in around 11 percent. (They’re also launching an Oolong-infused brew with 12 percent ABV.)
Before he was technically of legal drinking age, Sprouse was drawn to making mead because it was an easy entry into homebrewing.
“It’s often recommended to you as a place to begin your passion,” he tells Food & Wine. “I continued brewing mead because of its interesting history, flavor profile, and its relatively small market, which only intrigued me more feverishly.”
After tasting his own batches against other meads on the market, Sprouse found his to be different. “I realized that there weren't any similar to the way I was making it for myself and my friends.” Soon after graduating from NYU, he launched All-Wise with fellow actor and master brewer, Doug Brochu, and classmate Matt Kwan, who’s the company’s CFO.
While his twin brother Cole has returned to acting, playing Jughead Jones on the CW’s Riverdale, Sprouse has been busy becoming a Master Brewer. He says he learned a little about making mead from research and fellow brewers, but has perfected his technique by trial and error.
“I'm a firm believer that practice and trial bests study with something as hands on as brewing,” he says. “Since mead is a relatively small industry in the U.S., there aren't many forms of apprenticeship per se, so I mostly scoured my resources for new insights and just cracked down on brewing on a regular basis.”
The mead is made with New York state honey from Tremblay Apiaries, located in the Finger Lakes region, and the brewers plan to use more local ingredients, including herbs and vegetables, for future seasonal varieties. What makes All-Wise different? Sprouse says you just have to taste it.
“I could go on and on about tasting notes and how we're more of a light-bodied blah blah blah...but I think the best answer would be to try it yourself and find out,” he says. “Since not many people know what the flavor profile of mead tastes like, I generally urge them to come discover something new and give ours a try.”
Starting today, you can order the $30 bottle and do just that.