Medd Mynydd / Mountain Mead

24 October 2018
 
In just 12 months, friends and business partners Jacob Milner and Mike Cooke have developed their initial idea of making small batches of premium Welsh mead into a profitable and award-winning business, nestled on the borders of the Snowdonia National Park.
 
During the company’s first stages however, neither of them knew exactly what to do with their idea. “With no connections, trade experience, branding, or any sort of graphical representation, the company didn’t really exist,” admits Mike.
 
Through word-of-mouth from two different sources, the duo was introduced to Cywain, and to Haf Hughes, the project’s Bee Development Manager and Honey Cluster Lead.
 
“Once we spoke to Haf, there was no need for us to look elsewhere for business support. From the first contact, it was clear that Cywain would be able to introduce us to opportunities that we would never have naturally heard about otherwise.”
 
“We realised early on that there were quite a few obstacles that needed to be overcome if the business was to move forward,” says Haf.
 
“The three of us sat down to look at their business requirements, including suitable production premises, licencing, legal requirements, branding, bilingualism and the drinks market as a whole. Then in January 2017 the business was introduced to the Food Technology Centre in Llangefni, to apply for eligibility for product support to prepare for market i.e. moisture level; alcohol content; bottle wash/steriliser and tank dispensing.”
 
Possibly the company’s biggest triumph to date has been their partnership with local honey producer, Lodge Apiaries, as sourcing quality but affordable Welsh honey was essential to the success of the business.
 
“The things that have impressed us most about the support that we’ve received from Cywain has to be the continuous correspondence and bouncing of ideas between us, and the funding for professional branding -as a self-funded venture, including the Graphic Designer costs into our limited budget would have driven us to a complete halt,” explains Mike.
 
“We were never just given help for one area and then left to our own devices. The support has enabled us to build confidence in all aspects of our business including running our social media channels, marketing, pricing and much more.
 
“It is incredible that in a single year, we have established our business, appeared on Countryfile, won North Wales ‘Hospitality, Food & Beverage Business of the year’ award, and in November we will be trading on the Cywain stall at the Winter Fair in Builth Wells. These achievements would never have happened so quickly had it not been for Cywain’s help.”

As for working with the duo, Haf Hughes states, “Despite juggling home life and work to establish their business, Jacob and Mike have always been ready to listen and take on board new possibilities. They have worked very hard, and supporting them has been a pleasure.”

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