Gordon and Terry dreamed of owning a brewery for years, but felt the city wasn’t big enough for another craft beer brewery. But after discovering mead, they thought they might have something unique enough for a profitable boutique business. Initially, Tina and Melissa were not as excited about the idea. “It was scary when Terry first said he wanted to do it,” Melissa admits. “I had a lot of faith in their product but we didn’t know anything about starting a business. That’s why we started off slow.”

Reality hit everyone involved when they started looking for financing. The couples sought an $80,000 small business loan, but this was during the worst of the recession when banks were tight with their money.  Instead, they pooled their resources and came up with about $4,000 to get their brewery off the ground. Since then, it has been surprisingly self-sustaining. All of the profits they make are put back into the business. Gordon estimates that both couples have about $15,000 invested.

Gordon and Terry dedicate most of their nights and weekends to the mead business. The company has four fermenters that are located in the basement of the Taulbee home, near Bowman Field. Each fermenter produces 50 gallons of mead, or about 20 cases. The Louisville Mead Company uses all natural ingredients, including honey from local beekeepers. Terry says commercial-grade honey would not produce a satisfactory wine. They mix the honey and water with yeast and allow 10 to 14 days for the solution to ferment. Then they use a double-filtration system to remove any contaminates. The mead is then bottle aged.  Forming an assembly line for bottling, Melissa helps out with the corking and labeling. Tina watches both the Taulbee and Rothman children – four in all – while the others work in the basement.

Terry says the key to making good mead is in not overheating the honey. Too much heat burns off the subtle flavors in the mead. “We are probably making the simplest, most basic form of mead,” he says. “All of it just shows our love of the craft. I guess we just love alcohol.”