|▲ Ivy (beekeeping association corporation) CEO Keongyul Yang|
(PowerKorea) Historical records tell us that people in the Old Stone Age from about 2.5 million years ago to 9,600 BCE made liquor with honey bees. So called ‘mead’ is called ‘bongmilju’ in Korean. In Scandinavia, newly married couples drank mead for one month and the word ‘honeymoon’ came from this custom. Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops. The alcoholic content ranges from about 3.5% ABV to more than 18%. The English mead ‘fermented honey drink’ derives from the Old English meodu or medu. Koreans long time ago also made and drank bongmilju but the practice was stopped long before. In this respect, Ivy, a South Korean beekeeping association corporation, making and selling honey bee liquor is an exciting find.
Yangpeyong as an ideal place of making mead
Yangpyeong County in South Korea is an ideal place for beekeeping. Nestled in the county, Ivy has devoted its passion to producing the nation’s top mead for many years. It introduced ‘product traceability’ 15 years ago so that consumers know that the honey was produce here, when and by whom. The production of honey depends on temperature and it makes farmers hard to have steady income. In an effort to solve this issue, Keongyul Yang, CEO of Ivy, diversified product lines to apitoxin (the venom found in a honey bee’s sting), propolis and mead. Mead in particular has won the grand prize and the first prize at the Korean Sool Award for 9 years in a row. Honeybee Wine, the premium mead of Ivy, is melted with years of research and it is made with 100 percent pure honey with smooth and sweet finish. The content of honey is 40% and it is 8 percent alcohol by volume. If you want a little stronger, Honeymoon Wine can be an ideal choice. It is 10 percent alcohol by volume and is also made with 100 percent pure honey.
The mead picked by Singapore
Mead is sweet and calm. The scent is enchanting that it is no wonder the newly married drank for a month long. The making, however, is not sweet but bitter: honey is not naturally fermented and it remains as honey even after a year if the amount of water is less than 17 percent. There was no information about making mead, says Yang, so I had to go through many failures before finally succeeded a honey wine which I think is the first case in the nation and I fermented yeast in honey and tempered it three times to gain alcohol. March this year, a company in Singapore, at an on-screen trade due to the pandemic, signed an import deal with Ivy by putting nine competitor wines aside. Yang receives this as to prove its quality and uniqueness.
A man of research
Yang jumped in beekeeping early 2000. As a passionate and ambitious man, he visited the Rural Development Administration in an effort to launch a bee keeper’s cooperative. He has taken the steering wheel of the Gyeonggi Beekeepers Association for thirteen years and currently is serving as the president of the Korea Bee Breeding Association. He introduced a technique to extract propolis within three days from one year and a technique to extract apitoxin without killing bees. These techniques, Yang says, help bee keepers to secure steady income and I think we are sharing a good amount of the market we deserve as a result. A beep keeping activity farm will soon to be introduced and we hope it will play a role to invite more people to the county and to spread excellent of honey products in the region.
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