Submitted by Washington State House Republican Communications
Rep. Dick Muri’s bill providing support to the growing Washington state mead industry passed the House Monday. Currently “mead” is not defined in state law and considered to be a type of “wine.” An accurate definition of the product will help producers work with regulators and encourage growth in the industry. Muri’s bill provides for the legal definition of mead and prevents it from being classified as wine.
“While it is a relatively new product for our state, mead is on the upswing. This bill is meant to help producers grow the industry,” said Muri, R-Steilacoom. “I was glad to address some of the concerns breweries have about production. This will help producers get their product out to commercial outlets and grow a larger following.”
Mead is considered to be the world’s oldest form of alcoholic beverage. According to the American Mead Makers Association, the production of mead is one of the fastest growing adult beverage markets in the U.S. There are at least seventeen mead producers in Washington state. It is typically made from fermented honey and water. Mead sometimes contain hops, fruit, spices and other flavors.
Because mead has been classified as a wine product, the Washington State Wine Commission has levied a agricultural commodity assessment on its production. Muri’s bill would allow mead to be produced without having to pay fees to the commission. Further, the legislation would allow beer and cider liquor license holders who sell their product to purchasers in a container they supply, like a growler, to do the same with mead.
House Bill 1176 now heads to the Senate for further consideration.