As if you couldn't tell from their colorful cans and experimental flavors, the guys at Charm City Meadworks (CCM) like to have fun. So when it came time to move their production facility from its South Baltimore home up to a building near Mt. Vernon, they ordered some bee costumes, strapped their barrels onto a truck, and made the trek up north.
Starting next week, all of CCM's production will be done out of 407 E. Preston Street, a large warehouse space that used to be an old postal garage, which has an entrance facing the Biddle Street bridge over I-83.
This is the first move for the company, which has been making flavored mead, or a fermented honey beverage, since 2014.
"Our old space is tiny—we've just been too hemmed in," says CCM co-owner James Boicourt. "In order to keep up with demand, we were starting to get real clever with how we were storing things. We really didn't have the shelf space to expand."
Now, CCM is using the 6,500-square-foot space near Mt Vernon solely for production, where they will have additional fermentation capacity, more space for rack shelving, and an in-line labeling machine to be able to label cans on the fly.
"One thing that has been an issue for is we have these core products, but no shelf space for special releases or experiments," says Boicourt, who is currently tinkering with new recipes for spring. "This new space will allow us to do more fun stuff."
Later in 2017, the CCM owners are hoping to buy an additional suite in the building for a 1,000-square-foot taproom, as well as an outdoor space for a garden, picnic tables, and other activities. Boicourt says he's looking forward to being more ingrained in the local scene.
"Instead of having folding tables and a rigged set-up tasting room way down in South Baltimore, now we'll have a real storefront for people," he says. "It will help tie us even more to the community that has been such a huge support for us. Hopefully, it will be a place to chill out and spend time like Waverly and other breweries."
In the two-and-a-half years that CCM has been making its product, Boicourt has noticed a tremendous change in the craft beverage scene and the perception of mead.
"It's been night and day," he says. "Now it is so much more fun because so many people have picked up our product or know a friend who has. Now that people are more aware of what mead is and we have this brand new space, we can really start to get creative."