TAMPA (FOX 13) - An ancient alcoholic beverage is crafted right here in Tampa Bay.
The Garagiste Meadery has produced 90 different meads since openings its doors in July 2017 within the Tampa Heights neighborhood. Mead is a honey-based alcohol that has been around since 9000 B.C. It is widely considered to be the oldest alcoholic beverage on the planet.
The term “garagiste” is an adopted French slang meaning someone who makes wine in their garage, and followed the beat of their own drum. The owner, Chad Wiltz, told FOX 13, as homebrewers, that’s where some get started -- in a place of humble beginnings wherever they could find space.
There are anywhere between five to seven mead varieties at any point at Garagiste Meadery, including a traditional-style mead, which fermented honey and water; a coffee mead; white wine and red wine meads; a strawberry peanut butter mead; and a ginger mead. They also bottle some of their colorful concoctions for sale.
Wiltz says they work with local beekepers, mostly from Lakeland or Aracadia, to bring in honey and use the local products for the beverage. It can take up to three months to produce. The APV is generally between 12 to 14 percent.
The tasting room is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and is located at 1506 North Florida Avenue.