One award-winning honeymaster
One startup-loving craft beer writer
One old Mack Truck factory
Like a lot of stories, The Colony Meadery’s started with a return home.
Well, of course it didn’t really start there. Who can say where a story starts? In this case, it might have started when Greg and his college roommate first decided to make a batch of mead in 2004; or when Mike’s first batch of mead won medals in 2008; or with an art show that inspired Greg to write about craft beer; or when Mike won best in show at Valhalla and got to pro-am a batch at Moonlight Meadery; or a million other moments.
But whatever else The Colony Meadery is, it’s a partnership, and that started when co-founder-to-be Greg Heller-LaBelle moved back to his childhood home of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and revived the Lehigh Valley Beer Society. LVBS was a hifalutin name for a group of about a dozen local beer lovers. The August tasting every year was a little special; everyone was encouraged to raid the cellar and bring something dusty out. The cellar of the LVBS’s newest member, however, had run dry, and - not wanting to be that guy who brings homebrew to a beer tasting - Mike Manning decided to bring some of his homemade mead.
Greg asked if Mike had ever considered becoming a professional meadmaker; Mike said no. That might have been the end of it, but Greg was a longtime beer blogger who had paid too much attention to the craft beverage industry not to see an opportunity, and had spent too much time in the startup world to ignore an opportunity when he saw it.
Three months later, they shook hands over a draft of a business plan.
The Colony Meadery started selling in late 2013, with a focus on clean finishes and bold flavor profiles.