In Regina, the holiday season began for many on Saturday morning with the annual release of Bushwakker Brewpub’s blackberry mead.
For friends Brian Mercer and Marshall Dixon, it started 20 hours before when the pair pitched a tent and slept in front of the Dewdney Avenue bar to be the first in line for the honey-based boozy beverage. That line eventually extended around the building’s corner on Cornwall Street.
“We’ve come for four years and it’s really just the tradition and the good mead that follows after,” said Mercer.
Bar manger Grant Frew said the duo — who were also first for Mead Day 2016 — set a new record for early arrival for the annual sale.
“That tells you a little bit right there about the enthusiasm of blackberry mead fans in Saskatchewan,” he said.
“People in Saskatchewan are big on tradition and I think that’s part of the reason why they like to line up outside of the brewpub in the wee hours of the night, in the winter time, in Saskatchewan, to get blackberry mead.”
The doors opened at 11 a.m. and Frew expected to sell some 6,000 bottles of mead Saturday, anticipating most of the bottled stock will be gone before the end of the day.
One year, the brewpub sold out of its mead in an hour and 45 minutes.
Inside the brewpub, patrons will hopefully be able to have a glass up until the New Year, but Frew says because of its 10 per cent alcohol content, the limit is two glasses per visit.
More mead producers in Sask.
This year, some in line remarked on how short it was compared to previous years.
Rachel Molmar, who has stood in line for the past seven mead releases, lined up at 10 a.m. — which she says was late compared to previous years, where the earliest arrival was 4:30 a.m.
“There’s more producers of mead in Saskatchewan now and that’s a common question that I get, is how do we feel about mead having greater accessibility — but it’s something that we celebrate,” Frew said.
“If we can, in a way, be an inspiration to other brewers to also produce mead, that’s something that’s fantastic. That’s part of our pioneering mantra, if you will, in Saskatchewan.”