Showing posts with label Kinsale Mead. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kinsale Mead. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Kate and Denis have shown in six years that they've got what it takes to lead the revival of Mead in Ireland. An impressive palette of flavours from Kinsale.

Kate and Denis have shown in six years that they've got what it takes to lead the revival of Mead in Ireland. 

Already, an impressive palette of flavours from Kinsale.

Cleanliness. Temperature Control. Good Ingredients. These are vital if you are in the mead business (or in any any food or beverage business). Add in infinite patience and enthusiasm, the appropriate skills and hard work.

See the Wild Geese on this marvellous Barrel Aged mead

And these qualities were evident in abundance during our recent visit to the Kinsale Mead Company, officially opened on Friday the 13th October 2017 (following a period of unofficial trial and error).

Kate and Denis Dempsey are the couple behind the venture and, in 2016, they went to work to rediscover the ancient art of mead making and to create a world-class range of light and refreshing drinks. Much has been achieved since then. They have certainly opened many eyes (palates?), both here and abroad, to the flavours and possibilities of the ancient drink.

St Bridget

But they are not sitting back these days, far from it. If you have the good fortune to have had a tour  here, you’ll know of their enthusiasm. And you’ll also have heard of the history of the drink and the bees, the bees because honey is the main ingredient in mead.

Two of the bees from Gobnait's sculpture in Ballyvourney

They have some marvellous illustrated info-posters by local artist Fiona Boniwell on the walls of the reception and one in particular deals with the Bechbretha, the Brehon Bee Judgements. The Brehon system was quite revolutionary for the early medieval age and dealt with all kinds of situations involving those between humans but also including animals.

There was a full set of laws and judgements relating to cattle for instance and, yes, also for bees. A compensation was laid out for an injury (even as simple as a sting). There was a procedure in place to deal with swarms, even if a neighbour’s bees “invaded’ a person’s land to gather nectar. Not surprisingly, honey also featured as a compensation.

Denis. Waiting by the barrels!

Very very detailed stuff indeed - just Google it and see for yourself. Edited by Thomas Charles-Edwards, Bechbretha is available in Cork City Library.

Saint Gobnait features in the posters - many of you will have seen the rather large bees that sculptor Seamus Murphy included in his statue of her in Ballyvourney. In the meadery itself, there are a couple of murals and here a golden-haired St Bridget is seen urging a bunch of bees to go forth in search of the precious nectar so they can make more honey.

St Bridget is also regarded as the patron saint of brewers and,  just a few days back, I enjoyed a beer, a Honey Hefeweizen from Wicklow Wolf, that used honey from the locality and supplied to the brewery by @openhivehoney.

You can have all the stories and saints you want but your product still needs to have substance and Kate and Denis are strong on all counts. The meads are superb and vary a lot so there is something there for every taste as we found out in our tasting.

Kinsale Wild Red Mead (12% ABV) is a gorgeous melomel mead fermented off-dry with Irish blackcurrants, dark cherries and pure honey. Melomel mead has fruit as an ingredient and here it comes through here beautifully.

Kinsale Atlantic Dry Mead (12% ABV) is a delicious, off-dry traditional style mead (no fruit), beautifully crisp with a lovely citrus honey flavour

The third in their Signature series is Kinsale Hazy Summer Mead (11% ABV) a fabulous, fruity, off-dry berry mead with generous strawberry and raspberry aromas, a lovely burst of summer berries and a smooth, subtle honey finish. 

They also do a series of barrel aged meads. The Wild Red Mead – Merlot Barrel Aged (12% ABV) is a gorgeous 3 year-old berry mead fermented off dry and silky smooth and matured for the last 12 months in French Merlot wine barrels to add intriguing structure and depth. An exceptional, unique mead, a lively, attractive drink with a decadent richness. The beautiful label was inspired by the story of the “Wild Geese”.

Another is the Atlantic Dry Mead – Sauternes Barrel Aged (12% ABV) , a gorgeous 3-year-old traditional mead fermented from orange blossom honey, matured for the last 12 months in a French oak wine barrel to add intriguing structure and depth. The third is the same Atlantic Dry Mead – this time aged in White Port Barrel (12% ABV),  matured for the last 12 months in an oak port barrel to add spicy oak depth.

We were also privileged to taste the Kinsale Irish Wildflower Mead. This is a very special, limited edition mead made from 100% Irish summer wildflower honey from the  Chanting Bee Apiary. This honey is a lovely expression of the aromas and flavours of West Cork. Quite a few of the meads were seen on celebrity chef, John Torode’s Ireland on the Food Network.

John Torode wasn't the only TV chef to visit Kinsale Mead. Neven came too!

It may be the only Irish honey based mead that they produce - all their other honey comes from Spain as Irish honey is just not available in any quantity - but the Dempseys do use Irish as much as possible.

Their blackcurrants (from day 1) are supplied by Des Jeffares (Wexford), wild berries from John Howard of Rathcormac (John is also into wildflower seeds) and that Irish honey is by West Cork’s Paul Kelly (of Kelly Family fame). Local artists are supported like Fiona Boniwell who, in addition to the Bechbretha poster, also has done a splendid Mead Map of Ireland for them while the eye-catching counter was crafted in Carrignavar from timber between two and three hundred years old..

I mentioned patience at the start. Honey mead is slow to finish (though the fruit version is faster). You are talking about 6 to 18 months to mature and then another 12 are added with the barrel-aged trio.

A honey tasting.

They have some excellent technology on their side such as a US made Ozone-ator, their German tanks are very well made (no crevices inside where the nasties might hide) and they have a Ferrari bottle washer! Also a bit of luck in that Kinsale’s hard water is ideal for Mead.

They do all this themselves, on the road promoting far and wide, in the meadery when required, with the help of a small staff including daughter Grace who just loves the festivals and tastings.

We mentioned melomel mead (those with fruit) earlier. There are quite a few other types. How do serve them? Can you use them in cocktails. Besides, you’ll probably have quite a few questions on mead in general. And here too Kinsale Mead can help you. They have a long list of FAQ and much more info (including on those tours) on their excellent website here .

Monday, March 20, 2023

Kinsale Mead Co. wins Guaranteed Irish Food Academy Supplier of the Year and represents Ireland judging the European Mead Competition

Kinsale Mead Co. wins Guaranteed Irish Food Academy Supplier of the Year and represents Ireland judging the European Mead Competition

Kate and Denis Dempsey of Kinsale Mead Co. had an extra skip in their step this St Patrick’s Weekend after winning Food Academy Supplier of the Year from the Guaranteed Irish Business Awards for their range of Irish Meads.  

Kate and Denis are grateful for the support locally and nationally, particularly their long term supporter, Supervalu, who sponsored the award and where you can find some of their award-winning meads on the shelf. They have been honing their mead making craft for 5 years now and continue to gather a loyal and vocal fan base, including some top chefs, foodies and mixologists.  

“We work hard to create the best Irish Meads in our family run meadery in Kinsale,” says Kate Dempsey, who was at the Shelbourne in Dublin to pick up the award. “We are inspired by our Celtic history as well as the amazing honeys and berries we select. And of course, we have to thank the hardworking honeybees too.” 

“This win for Kinsale Mead is a celebration of our Irish heritage and craft,” said Brid O’Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish. 

Kate has just returned from Warsaw, where she represented Ireland as a judge in the European Mead Competition. Kate is probably the only qualified Mead judge in Ireland! Mead is a growing drink category in many countries and the range of styles and flavours was evidenced by the 630 meads entered from 36 different countries. Kate was delighted to bring home a medal for their Hazy Summer Mead in a tough competition.  

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Kinsale Mead Company wins Irish Made Awards Drink of the Year

 Kinsale Mead Company wins 

Irish Made Awards Drink of the Year

Kate Dempsey (right) with
Brid O’Connell

Kate and Denis Dempsey of Kinsale Mead Co. are thrilled and humbled to be awarded Drink of the Year from the Irish Made Awards for their range of Irish Meads.

Kinsale Mead has been honing their mead making craft and spreading the word about their contemporary expression of this delicious drink for 5 years now. Part of the process was a public vote for the finalists and with the rise and rise of premium craft Irish drinks, the competition was stiff. They have gathered a loyal and vocal fan base for their meads and are thankful for their support.

“There’s a certain pressure being Ireland’s first meadery in 200 years to re-create and re-imagine this wonderful drink from our Celtic past,” says Kate Dempsey who was in Dublin to pick up the coveted award. “It’s been a roller coaster ride so it's a lovely boost to get this kind of recognition for the care and hard work we put in to make the world class Irish Meads in Kinsale in West Cork.”

“This win for Kinsale Mead is a celebration of our Irish heritage and craft,” said Brid O’Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish.

Fermented from pure honey and berries, Kinsale Mead is a great gift or a treat drink to share with friends and family at get togethers to set the world to rights. Off Dry and 12% alcohol, it’s fantastic with an Irish cheeseboard or platter of Irish food. The care and passion that Kinsale Mead bring to their drinks is richly rewarded by the evocative fruit flavours and that thirst-quenching pour. Always innovating, they have recently extended their range with a selection of limited edition barrel aged meads.

“We’re celebrating with a glass of autumnal Wild Red Mead made from Wexford blackcurrants, cherries and honey and a slice of toasted barm brack and butter,” said Kate.

This annual event is a wonderful showcase of Irish Made products and the dedicated people who craft them. The supportive and collaborative environment and the obvious passion of the producers for their craft is one to be nurtured and celebrated.

The meads are available in many Supervalus, Celtic Whiskey Shop, Bubble Brothers, McCambridges and many speciality food stores and independent off licences.

Monday, August 22, 2022

The Bookshelf Elysian hosts Cork on a Fork Dinner. And it turns out to be a superb evening!

The Bookshelf Elysian hosts Cork on a Fork Dinner.

And it turns out to be a superb evening!

Sweet sandwich!

The Bookshelf at the Elysian made a rare evening opening to host a one-off 4-course dinner experience for the Cork on a Fork Festival, with a specially created menu filled with produce from the region.  

Goats cheese, beetroot

The dinner, helmed by Head Chef Rebekah Harrington, was class from start to finish and featured an array of top notch local produce.

Pom'O x 2

In between the starters and the mains, we had a Mead interval. The meads, all by the Kinsale Mead Company, were Hazy Summer, Atlantic Dry and Wild Red. They were paired with nibbles that included Gubbeen Smoked cheese and Ballyhooly Blue (whipped) from Fermoy. Both the mead and nibbles impressed and you could see it forming the basis for similar demos at markets and other restaurants. More on Kinsale Mead Co here. 

Cider sparkling in the cloudiness

After a warm welcome, and with live music in the foyer, we were soon checking out the menu. There was a choice of three starters, each with a wine pairing (from L’Atitude 51). Out two were Chicken liver mousse éclair, piccalilli relish and Textures of beetroot, Sunview Goats cheese (from Kilmichael). The pair were shared and each was excellent and easily polished off.

Mead break

After the mead interlude, it was on to the mains. No need for sharing this time as we had each picked Free-range Caherbeg (from Rosscarbery) confit pork belly, blackberries, with Pom’O apple port jus. Just perfect. The pork was excellent and lifted by the amazing Pom’O by Killahora Orchards (that we would meet again at the end).

Pork Belly and that sauce!

Drinks? One was the Ameztoi Txacoli de Getaria Rosado “Rubentis” and the other was an unfiltered and delicious classy cider from orchards just west of the city. Each had plenty of acidity to go well with the pork and hard to pick between the Basque wine and the Irish cider. The only thing missing was that the wine wasn’t poured from shoulder height as they sometimes do in the lovely village of Getaria where this one comes from.

The Basque wine

Time for the sweet then. Two available so we took both. The Sandwich of meadowsweet namelaka and strawberry cremeux was a delicious as you’d anticipate, really well executed while the other, the Blackberry and lemon balm granita, with chocolate aero and candied nuts, was superbly refreshing. Thumbs up for two desserts worth waiting for!

Chicken liver mousse éclair

On then to the finalé. It was billed as a Dessert Cocktail featuring that fantastic Killahora Orchids Pom’O. But no cocktail! The Bookshelf decided that the Pom’O was so good there was no need to add anything and that proved to be a great call. What a finalé!

Blackberry & Lemon balm....

* Killahora on that unusual drink: “Our Pom’O is an apple aperitif made from rare apple varieties, grown in our 200 year old Orchards on the south facing slopes of Ireland’s County Cork. We mix the juice from our bittersweet apples with the finest apple brandy, then age it in Irish whiskey barrels for at least a year….”  More on the Pom'O here.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Neven Maguire’s Irish Seafood Trail Visits Kinsale Mead

Neven Maguire’s Irish Seafood Trail Visits Kinsale Mead

Neven with Denis (left) and Kate


Often referred to as ‘The Gourmet Capital of Ireland’ it’s no surprise that award-winning celebrity chef Neven Maguire made a trip down to Kinsale for his new TV show ‘Neven’s Irish Seafood Trails’. As a great supporter of Irish food and drink Kate and Denis from Kinsale Mead Co were more than happy to show him around the gorgeous coastal town and of course invite him into their meadery.

Neven sampled the honeys used and they told him all about the fascinating history of the world’s oldest alcohol. Their latest batch of Hazy Summer Mead was in the midst of fermenting, as they explained how they make their fantastic mead.

They finished up the day by the beautiful harbour with Kate and Neven having a chat and sipping on some mead, including their Limited-Edition Barrel Aged Collection with a locally sourced seafood platter from Chef Meeran, Rare 1784 in The Blue Haven Hotel.


The show will be aired on Wednesday February 2nd at 8:30pm on RTE One. Tune in to find out what Neven said of his first taste of mead and what seafood delights he cooks up.


Web: for online orders and stockists


Phone: 021 477 3538

Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @KinsaleMeadCo

Press release

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

CorkBilly Latest Food & Drink. Updated 27th August 2021

CorkBilly Latest Food & Drink

Week 210827. Update #1 27th August 2021

Plan to issue this mid-week with updates towards weekend. If you have any food or drink news, DM me a line or two, plus a link and a photo if available. Of course, if you have "big" news, let me know also and we can do a full standalone post.

Well the weather looks top notch for the week - We will remain just with the outside area for the moment - Enjoy the last few weeks of the summer - few tables remaining over the week if you’d like to visit -
Few new dishes again this week -
All bookings via the Website


Here comes the Sun!

Oh Happy Days! Great to see the Sunshine back. Why not kick back give the chef a night off and order some Blairs Out!

Here is Friday's Take Out Menu.....

We are also open from 1pm for dining either in our garden or inside providing you have the relevant vaccine cert, menu available on our website

When collecting your take out this weekend be sure to check out our new range of take home craft beers and fair trade minerals.

For Take Out you can email in your order as per usual to for all orders. 
We are available for collection from 1pm to 8pm.

The phone line will be open from 12 noon on 021-4381470 for anyone looking to order by phone.

HOME DINING - Friday & Saturday 27th and 28th August 🍽
3 courses just €30 PP including home delivery in the greater Cork City area

L'Atitude 51

New arrivals from the Jura!! Savagnin Les Chassagnes, Le Vin de Ploussard Ouvre L'Esprit, Vivre d'Amour et de PlouPliou, Le Pinotctambule - from one of our favourite estates: Bormard
Exciting pours ahead!

Back by popular demand…. The fish cake Bahn mi. 👏🏽 Yis missed those pillows of flavour wrapped in a crisp baguette. And a new hash for you to try, Caherbeg slow roast ham hocks. We cook them in lager & spices for extra pizazz! Kitchen open from 9-3.30 all weekend. Defo picnic in the prom weather 🌞🌞🌞🧺 #hamhock #picnicdate #lastdaysofsummer #cobh

On The Pig's Back

An absolutely perfect weekend for a garden Cheese & Charcuterie Board
Add your favourite wine or summer spritzer and you have the ideal summer get together!
Choose from our huge range of speciality Irish & French Farmhouse cheeses and exquisite Charcuterie, and all the extras such as Pate, Hummus, Breads, Quince and so much more!

All available from our stall at @theenglishmarketcork and Douglas Deli


Kinsale Mead Co.

"'s honey season, which means beekeepers are out collecting honey from their beehives. The best time to harvest honey is towards the end of summer, after the end of the honey flow when the nectar availability is at its peak. It's also the best time of year to visit Kinsale, which is great news since a certain meadery is open again for tours One of the top places to visit in Kinsale whether it's sunny or raining! More visit details and booking here.


Eoin O'Mahony, the English Market butcher, announces that their first delivery of @irishpigsociety pork is arriving this week. "Rare breed pigs reared by smallholders.The first pigs are Oxford Sandy & Black crossed with a Duroc." ********* Tom Durcan has something NUA for you! Something NUA is coming…

Ingredient - Wood - Fire
Local and Fresh ingredients played by @chefvictorfranca in partnership with @tom_durcan_meats.

Café Paradiso

We're looking for a chef to join the Paradiso kitchen team, starting 7th September. Apply to

Perry Street Market have news!

Our opening hours for our Ringaskiddy location have changed! We will now be open until 6pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
So from Monday - Sunday, you can enjoy hot food until 5pm daily with our delicious beverages, sandwiches and desserts available right up until 6pm 7days a week!

The Montenotte Hotel

New restaurant at Cobh Golf Club

Thanks to Mags O'Connor for tip off! "Open to the public"


Dog wash opening soon. Will advise the date in September. €30 for a wash and dry, includes a free tea or coffee and pastry in the cafe while you wait. Small and medium sized dogs only!