Rep. Dick Muri’s bill supporting to the growing mead production industry, was signed into law Friday, April 14 by the governor. The measure provides for the legal definition of mead and prevents it from being classified as wine. This product definition will help producers work with regulators and encourage growth in the industry.
With the stroke of the governor’s pen, Muri’s bill became the first law in the country to support mead production.
“The history of mead goes back centuries,” said Muri. “Many people make the mistake of thinking of it as a wine, but it is made from honey not grapes. The industry is growing quickly. I’m happy to help producers in our state expand and grow their businesses.”
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.