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Meet Danielle and Derek Busch of Batch Mead in Temecula

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle and Derek Busch.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Mead is one of the oldest alcohols ever created, it’s also frequently confused with the word “meat”. Mead is incredibly versatile with alcohol percentages ranging from 4-20% and profiles from sweet to dry. Mead is an alcohol made with 60% or more fermented honey. Honey, water and yeast is at the core of every mead. Mead is considered a wine with similar wine-making processes.

Derek first heard about mead from the History channel’s Vikings. He went to the wine store and found they carried one type of mead, so he bought a case. After drinking through that delicious case in a few days, he decided he wanted to try making his own version.

Soon, 5 gallon buckets lined out closets, balconies and hid under desks. Most meadmakers start out with 5 gallon bucket fermentations. Instead of doing one batch at a time, Derek did multiples to do tests on flavors and yeasts, hence the name Batch Mead.

Derek and I met in 2009 while working as cowboy re-enactors at Donely’s Wild West Town in Union, IL. I spun guns and managed all the park’s 43 employees. Derek threw axes. It was love at first sight.

From there, we both got our business degrees, me in marketing and him in accounting. After a couple of years in Illinois, we decided to take the plunge and move out to San Francisco, despite both our families telling us we were making the biggest mistake of our lives.

We had a great time working in San Francisco. Derek loved his work with Andersen Tax, working on clients like Amazon and HP. I found myself working at LinkedIn doing marketing. On the side, we were visiting every meadery we could find. We’ve been to over fifty different meaderies in the U.S.

We made it up to Seattle, and then from there we decided to start looking into where we could open a meadery. For six months, we lived nomadically down the coast of California, visiting Lake Tahoe, Napa, Sonoma, Carmel, Santa Barbara, Carlsbad and finally landing in Temecula.

Instead of buying a house, we put our life savings into opening Batch Mead. We built our entire tasting room ourselves. Every mead and hard cider that we release was made by Derek, usually with a label designed by me.

It’s been a labor of love, opening a small business, but we love it.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
We opened at the end of Nov 2019. We were open about three months before the pandemic hit, and it hit our industry hard. We had to close at the beginning of March. We cried for a few days and then pivoted hard to do free local deliveries and online orders. We overhauled our website and set up delivery route systems. Myself, Derek and my brother became delivery drivers, doing up to 150 local deliveries in one week. It was a huge learning experience, one of the benefits of our tasting room is that we would get to speak directly to each customer. When we deliver, they no longer get that connection. We worked on creating specials and adding marketing materials to make each deliver more of an “experience”. It was amazing to reach so many new people, most of whom had never stepped foot in our tasting room. We’ve since been able to triple our production.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Batch Mead – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
We’re family-owned and operated. It’s only myself, my brother and Derek taking on all of our batches. We’re known for using different honey varietals and pairing them with each mead style and fruit. For example, we recently used a dark, smoky honey in our bourbon barrel aged mead, which accentuated the bourbon barrel char.

We are also known for our sweet, fruit-forward meads. We try to local fruit when possible, our new Strawberry Rhubarb pie mead uses local strawberries from Kenny’s Strawberry Farm. Our hard ciders are pressed from local apples and we love creating semi-sweet hard ciders with all-natural ingredients (no sugar or additives, just apples, fruit and honey). Everything we make is gluten-free and we keep our fermentations as natural as possible.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We’re releasing a holiday pie series for the fall, just in time for Thanksgiving! This will include a gift box, strawberry rhubarb pie mead, boysenberry pie mead, cherry pie mead and apple mead. We’re loving how it’s coming along!

We hope to keep growing awareness for mead! Honey has antioxidants, anti-allergens, reparative properties and antibacterial properties, all which transfer to our mead.

Pricing:

  • Tasting Flights are $12
  • Cider Bottles are $12
  • Mead Bottles are $18
  • Barrel Aged Meads are $26

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

@munchies_withmia, @paigecreative, @jpiccari

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