Charm City Meadworks Launches in South Baltimore, Q & A with Co-Founder James Boicourt

| February 3, 2015 | 0 Comments
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Boicourt and Geffken

Federal Hill’s James Boicourt, along with partner Andrew Geffken, recently launched Charm City Meadworks, Baltimore’s first meadery in the Fairfield Industrial Area of South Baltimore. The two come from engineering backgrounds, but are both excited to jump into their new careers. Charm City Meadworks currently has more than 50 accounts and are producing more than 500 gallons of mead each month, with big plans for growth in 2015.

Charm City Meadworks currently produces five different types of mead: Wildflower and Elderberry, which are served on draft and referred to as session meads with an ABV of 6.9%; and, Original Dry, Rosemary and Cinnamon, which are served in a bottle and have an ABV of 12%. Bottles retail for about $9-$12 and drafts are served for about $6-$7 a glass at local restaurants, including South Baltimore’s World of Beer.

Charm City Meadworks is currently licensed to sell its meads in Maryland, Washington, DC (where Geffken resides), and Oregon. Charm City Meadworks has several part-time employees and Boicourt and Geffken expect to expand their workforce as production increases.

SouthBMore.com caught up with Boicourt to learn more about mead, Charm City Meadworks, and where to get a taste of their creations.

1426510_315170702012757_7422177115279468729_nWhat exactly is mead and what sparked your interest in starting to make it?

Mead is the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage and is made from honey, water, and yeast. It’s something that was enjoyed by every ancient culture, from before written history up until the Middle Ages after which grape wine and beer became more widely consumed. In college I took up beekeeping and home brewing and exploring mead was a natural result of this.

How did this interest lead to the creation of Charm City Meadworks? What process did you go through to start the company?

At the time friends and I started making mead, it was not something commonly available, and when you could find it, it was generally terrible. It seemed like for many years people had gotten away with making it poorly as a novelty drink. My early experiments turned out much better than what was on the market. Even then (10 years ago), I felt it was something worth introducing others to by brewing commercially. After years of careful experimentation, often interrupted or put on hold by life, a friend and I decided to really make the push about 18 months ago. My business partner, Andrew Geffken, is really what has made this work. Starting up this business, with the combination of physical work, extremely long hours, and unique daily challenges, is something that hs been successful because we work very well together.

What are Charm City Meadwork’s goals for the next few years? And, do you think mead can become a more popular beverage?

Our goals for this year include statewide and regional distribution, more new recipe releases, and to bring more of our friends and customers out to see the Meadworks. It’s hard to say this early on what business will look like beyond a year, because we’re growing very fast. Since we began selling six months ago, we’ve seen very high demand, and whenever we put our mead in someone’s hands, they want more. I think mead is definitely becoming more popular and I can’t wait to introduce even more people to it!

Tell us where people can get some of your meads and about some of the events you have planned at your winery in Fairfield.

Starting this Friday, we will be open from 5-9 at our facility in Fairfield to offer tastings, tours, bottle sales, and growler fills. We plan on pushing out more in South Baltimore, but at the moment you can find us on tap at World Of Beer and our bottle products are available at The Wine Market. A map of places our mead is also available through our website: www.charmcitymeadworks.com.

10421453_323549781174849_9057706393167345151_nHow do you rate the craft brewing and wine industry in the Baltimore area and what is it like to be a part of it?

The craft brewing and wine industry in Baltimore is just getting started, and it’s very exciting to be part of it.

What do you like about living in Federal Hill and running a business in South Baltimore?

Living in Federal Hill for the last several years has made me really appreciate what a sense of community this city has. Many of my neighbors are close friends and I feel happy to run into them every day when walking around the neighborhood. Owning a business is a serious personal commitment to the area and I’m happy knowing I really couldn’t be doing it in a better place.

Photos courtesy of the Charm City Meadworks Facebook Page.

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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