Clever names, I'm a sucker for clever names. B. Nektar (the very tongue in cheek title of the meadery featuring in fact bee's nectar) was founded by Brad Dahlhofer and his wife. Black Girls Brew had the chance to catch up with this clever man in Tampa.
BGB: How did you get started?
Brad: I started brewing in 1998, making mead. It got to a point where my wife said "let's sell this!" My wife (Kerri Dahlhofer) figured out how to get licensing. She's great. She designed the logo, name, labels. 2 years later, we opened as small night and weekends establishment.
Just then this story takes a turn. Brad got laid off. As the fates would have it, he and his family decided to make the meadery a full time gig. I asked him how that went, and with a reticent smile, he said this:
Brad: When we opened, there was a line around the block. It's been that way ever since. It wasn't the easiest road. I took side jobs while we built the company. Ended up bringing a friend (homebrewer buddy) who I trained to take over production. That let me focused on sales and research and development.
BGB: What's your favorite part about brewing?
Brad: People always have an immediate reaction. I was in IT (Information Technology) before; and there were always people who were upset when they didn't get their requirement met. With this, it is what it is. Either they like it or they don't.
BGB: Are you glad that you took this path?
Brad: I've never been happier.
BGB: What is your favorite mead?
Brad: Zombie Killer. Before Zombie Killer, we were only doing higher alcohol, non carbonated meads. A local restaurant wanted a cherry mead on kegs. We made 60 bottles a weekend, combined mead with cherries. Apple cider, honey, cherries.
BGB: And it's delicious. You're at the Fall Craft Beer Festival, were you at GABF (Great American Beer Festival)?
Brad: Federally mead is registered as wine. We were able to register as attendants, then a month ahead of time, we were told we were inelgible to attend. We called shenanigans as Red stone meaderies was there without a brewing license. But, we're going to shoot for next year, we're working toward obtaining the proper licenising.
I really enjoyed meeting Brad. His warm and open style translates to his mead. I tried Zombie Killer and Zombies Take Manhattan. Both excellent meads. Really enjoyable. Find them, buy them, love them. Good guy. Good beer.