Portland-based Oregon Mead and Cider Company has closed up shop after five years. Founded in 2013 by Brooks Cooper and Patrick Lawrence under the name Stung Fermented, the company originally focused on mead (aka fermented honey or honeywine) before rebranding as Oregon Mead and Cider in September 2016 and marketing the far more mainstream hard cider in addition to mead.
Oregon Mead and Cider has already shut its doors, and that includes the tasting room at the production space next door to Culmination Brewing in the Bindery Annex building at 2117 NE Oregon St, Ste 202. Co-founder and head fermentationist Brooks Cooper built the business on his home recipes, and he reports an internal conflict between shareholders precipitated the hasty closure that came without advanced warning. Equipment and tanks were already being moved out of the building yesterday to go to an auction house, says Cooper. For now there does not seem to be a second life in store for the brand. Cooper will be taking a break from the biz, but says he does have other beverage ideas he may explore in the future.
Brooks Cooper of Oregon Mead and Cider Co.
Mead, (sometimes called the world’s oldest fermented beverage) has had a hard time gaining a foot hold in Oregon. It’s perhaps the only locally crafted alcohol that Oregonians have not embraced (even in Portland) outside of homebrewers’ carboys. In Portland the only other meadery I know of is Fringe Mead, which produces a very small amount as part of Hi Wheel Wine & Cider in N. Portland. For a short time we had Mead Market on SE Hawthorne Blvd., an offshoot of Bee Thinking, a local home beekeeping shop. Mead Market started as home mead making supplies as an offshoot of Bee Thinking, expanded to bottles of mead for sale, and finally into a short-lived storefront for mead on draft and bottle sales. It didn’t last long.
Not far outside of Portland we have the tangentially beer related Batch One Brewing, which is part of Shattered Oak Brewing and The Hive Taphouse in Oregon City and produces beer-mead hybrids called Braggots. In that account, Eugene has Viking Braggot Brewery, which has been modestly successful as a nano brewer that recently expanded into downtown Eugene with a new brewpub. Corvallis, home to Oregon State University, where many homebrewers study the fermentation sciences to go pro, has long been the center of Oregon’s mead industry with the likes of Blue Dog Meadery, which had an epic rise and fall and is now defunct. Just outside of Corvallis in Philomath is the most successful of the bunch, Nectar Creek Meadery, which recently opened a new production meadery and taproom and continues to be the torch bearer for mead in Oregon.