Sap House Meadery expands, invigorates commerce in Center Ossipee
Sap House Meadery is bringing commerce and attracting customers to a once-sleepy side street in Center Ossipee.
First opened to the public in 2011 with a small manufacturing and brewing space and a retail shop that doubled as a tasting room at 6 Folsom Road, the Meadery has recently expanded to quadruple its space. Co-owners -- and cousins -- Ash Fischbein and Matt Trahan purchased the adjacent vacant building that once served as an automobile showroom and transformed the space to add 2,000-square feet of manufacturing and storage area. The expansion was made possible with support from the Wentworth Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO), in collaboration with the Mount Washington Valley Economic Development Council (MWVEC).
“An important part of our business plan was to be a catalyst for revival of this Center Ossipee business area,” said Fischbein in an interview with Trahan in the newly created Mead Pub, the first of its kind in New Hampshire.
In the Meadery’s case, the owners applied for financing through WEDCO’s Revolving Loan Fund, which provides funding for a variety of purposes including real estate acquisition, machinery and equipment, renovation, construction, working capital, etc. The WEDCO loan paid for renovation of the former auto dealership space, including a new roof, walls, and a special space called a hot box for storing honey, as well as renovations to their original building.
WEDCO Executive Director Denise Roy-Palmer lauded the Sap House Meadery endeavor as one with multiple benefits. “This is a perfect example of a small business’s commitment to their community. Expanding their business into the abutting vacant underutilized property, and transforming it into an aesthetically pleasing property, becomes a destination for residents and visitors alike, and creates employment opportunities,” she said. “WEDCO is proud to be a part of it and having the opportunity to bring this project to fruition in partnership with the Mount Washington Valley Economic Council (MWVEC)” she added.
The owners anticipate that the new space and additional fermentation tanks will increase mead production ten-fold and will eventually enable the Meadery to hire additional workers. Currently, aside from the owners, the Meadery employs two full time workers, Katelin Smith who runs the mead pub, and production assistant Evan Henderson.
Since opening the Mead Pub, foot traffic has nearly tripled. Customers can also book a one-hour “Hive to Bottle” tour of the Meadery for $20 on most Saturdays at noon. The tour, guided by the owners, includes samples of some rare mead not generally available to the public, and a keepsake Sap House Meadery snifter glass. Or join Club Mead and get four bottles of mead per shipment every quarter for $55, at a price that is 15 percent off retail and includes free shipping.The Mead Pub is open Wednesday through Friday from 3 to 8 p.m., Saturday from 1 to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The pub also served fresh oysters every Friday evening.
The regular menu includes an array of meads, draft beers, mead-based cocktails and light meals including pork and chicken tacos, Plowman’s Lunch, Cheese boards and seasonal specials such as oysters on the half shell.
Sap House Meadery first opened its doors to the public February 2011 with 75 gallons of mead -- the equivalent of about 700 bottles that they thought would last a year. The inventory sold out in nine weeks.
Since then, sales have grown significantly. Almost all of their meads have won international awards from the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition to the Mazer Cup. Distribution has expanded to 11 states including all New England states, California, Arkansas, North Carolina and New York. Customers can purchase Sap House Meadery meads in many local stores in the Lakes Region and at the farmers’ markets in Tamworth and Wolfeboro. In additional to a variety of meads, the retail shop offers locally made products such as jams, sodas and gift items.
Both Trahan and Fischbein are community-spirited with a desire to inspire other local entrepreneurs in the area by example. This spring, Fischbein launched the Ossipee Economic Development Council. The owners are also involved with a local merchants association that includes businesses in Freedom, Effingham, and Ossipee.
For more information, visit the Sap House Meadery web site at www.saphousemeadery.com, or visit them on Facebook.
For more information on the programs and resources available through WEDCO, contact Executive Director Denise Roy-Palmer at 603-569-4216.