BERLIN, Md. (AP) — Brett and Meghan Hines, both full-time teachers at Indian River High School, opened The Buzz Meadery in Berlin during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brett Hines said they signed their life away before the pandemic hit, which left them no choice but to open.
“I don’t think much would’ve changed had the pandemic not happened,” he said. “It’s honestly given us a chance to start slower and figure things out.”
When the couple lived in Colorado, Brett was a member of a homebrewing group called Liquid Poets.
“A guy in my homebrew club got me hooked on session mead. I started making it and really liked the way it tasted and the brewing process was fun for me,” Hines said.
Using fruits and vegetables at peak ripeness, they source from local growers around the Eastern Shore to create various meads and ciders.
Hines said they look for organic growers or transitional organic growers first when selecting who to buy fruit and vegetables from for the meads or ciders.
“If that’s not an option, we try to partner with whoever is closest, who has the most sustainable practices,” he said. “It’s my way of making an environmentally more conscious alcohol that tastes freaking awesome and is just really fun to drink.”
The Buzz Meadery was started in an 800-square-foot building on Worcester Highway, where it had a brewing area and tasting room, which has since closed to the public.
It now serves meads and ciders out of a van parked at The Berlin Commons. The donation-based, community green space is located at 21 Jefferson St. in Berlin.
“We live right here in town and this was a way we could pull up our mead truck, serve here on the weekends and have our neighborhood friends and family come walk into town and enjoy sitting outside and really kind of establish a community again,” he said.
Hines said The Berlin Commons was a creative collaboration to have an open-air, outdoor space that is COVID-friendly and centered between the residential and business districts.
“I think what the Commons really represents is community. I think everybody can just take a step back and remember that everybody is doing the best they can,” he said.
The Buzz Meadery sells its product directly at The Berlin Commons from 4-9 p.m. Fridays and 2-9 p.m. Saturdays.
Also in Berlin, Boxcar on Main and Sterling Tavern have the Soulstice on draft while Blacksmith has bottles available.
West-O Bottle Shop & Bar in Ocean City, Pitt Stop Beer, Wine and Spirits in Berlin, and The Buzzed Word in Ocean City also carry Buzz Meadery products.
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