Why Is Mead So Expensive? (Learn Why And Make Your Own)

Mead on average is three times more expensive than a 6 pack of beer per volume. But why is that? Today we are going to get to the bottom of this and show you how to make your own mead for much less than it would cost to buy in a store.

Mead is expensive because the price of organic honey is high. Honey is made from bees and bees are much harder to cultivate for their honey than typical crops used for other beverages. Conversely bee colonies have been wiped out because of factory farming and mono culture.

While the cost of honey is a major factor in the price of honey its not the whole story. There are many other reasons why mead is more expensive than beer or sometimes even cheap wine.

The Cost of Honey Has Increased

There are a lot of theories as to why mead is more expensive that it seemingly should be. Some of which state that its the drink of kings, because honey was a rare resource that was difficult to get. But in the modern era how can it be so difficult to produce a drink that is just 3 ingredients.

  • Honey
  • Water
  • Yeast

That’s really all you need in order to make a good mead. Although I could go on about that variety of ingredients you could add we are here to prove a point.

And that point is that honey is really the one ingredient here pushing the prices of mead up and what it all comes down to is supply and demand.

Local Organic honey can be pricey but is great for mead making.

The Supply and Demand for Honey

The demand for honey is great, so great in fact that companies cut honey with ingredients that are not straight honey, but in fact just sugar. But that indeed is another story.

The demand for honey used in different foods has increased. The natural organic movement has also increased the demand for honey driving up honey prices. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the opposing economic force of supply.

As demand for honey has increased the supply has decreased as the population of honey bees is dwindling. There have been a lot of questions or reasons as to why, but it seems to have something to do with destroying their habitats.

Honey is Difficult to Produce

Honey is a labor intensive practice, we can’t exactly turn it into an efficient factory style type of production because bees have a mind of their own.

We have been able to reduce the prices though a process of mixing and combining different honey. The problem with this is it loses its individual character and makes all honey taste the same. This makes for poor quality mead that is not as individualistic as it should be.

Honey also requires beekeepers to move around a lot with the seasons. This travel ads more cost to the process, so bringing down transportation costs could help.

There are no Large Producers

Not sure why this is exactly other than it never really caught on in the United States. It’s possible because it was often associated with old world aristocracy that it never took hold, however that has become less of an issue in this day an age.

There are not really any major producers of mead in the United States that I can think of. Most of them are international which of course brings up the prices because of shipping. One famous brand is from Ireland and is called Bunratty mead.

You will often see mead mixed with other expensive liquors in order to increase their perceived value to make up for the high shipping costs that international companies have to grapple with.

Could Drinking Mead over Beer Bring down Prices?

Actually yes, and there are a few reasons for this. One, production of mead will increase to larger batches making the process more efficient and drive down costs. Two, The most popular beers are made with corn and fructose a major force behind destroying land for factory farming.

Who knows if drinking more mead in itself would actually lead to less corn being grown, likely not since its still the most efficient form of sweetener that we have, but it could put more emphasis on creating bee habitats if there is a financial imperative.

Sadly, this would mean we would see higher prices of mead before it would come down again. So maybe the best answer to get cheaper mead is just to make it yourself.

Taxes on Mead vs Beer

Taxes on beverages with more alcohol are typically higher, but they are also put into different classifications, so some mead types that have a lower abv could potentially cost more in taxes even though they are on par with beer.

Mead that contains more than honey, for example fruit is taxed more than a traditional mead would be, which stifles innovation and leads to less choice further reducing interest in making mead and driving down costs.

Choices in the Mead Market

There are many small batch meaderies operating in the United States. They don’t have quite the distribution that major beer producers do, so you won’t often see them in supermarkets.

But, they are around and its important that we support them to get more choice and change in the mead space. I actually did an interview of one of my local meaderies, go check it out and learn more!

Make Your Own Unique Mead

The cost of mead on the store shelves can be rather expensive and the way its bottled can be a bit of a deterrent as it might seem like it should only be for special occasions. So if its going to be such a special drink only for the best occasions why not make it more special and brew your own?

It hardly takes any equipment at all to make your own mead, really just the basics. With this premium Nano-Meadery Kit you can actually produce a mead for less than it would cost to buy the equivalent $15 bottle at the store.

The mead kit produces 1 gallon of mead which equates to ~3800ML. Mead is typically sold in 750ML quantities for $15 on average. If you were to do that math it would be a few dollars cheaper making your own.

Two missing ingredients from the kit are water and yeast nutrient, if you were to buy spring water it would bring the price just over that of the $15 bottle. But, you could just use filtered water as I’ve done and still make a delicious mead.

Learn more from my recommended products page.

My mead after racking it once.

I know it seems a little crazy, so whats the catch? The catch would be the time commitment it takes to make a great mead. It will take your far longer than brewing a beer. An average beer will take you about a month to brew a good mead takes about 6.

But, don’t let that deter you, mead is delicious and you can diversify your mead and make all sorts of delicious combinations that you can’t find on store shelves. So get out there and brew a mead!


Hey, I'm the the creator of frugalhomebrew.com. I have been brewing beer since 2013 and started by brewing in my parents home. I have written copy on numerous websites. Most notably Seeking Alpha, where I analyze small cap publicly traded companies. I have also written content for netnethunter.com and brokenleginvesting.com.

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