Ferndale-based Schramm’s meets the need for mead

A decade since Ken Schramm started on the path to becoming one of Michigan’s — if not the country’s — mead authorities, he has opened his own meadery and bar.

Schramm’s Mead served its first customers Sept. 26 and celebrated with a grand opening party last Friday. After some unexpected hurdles, there was all the more reason to whoop it up.

Schramm, whose day job is as manager of video services and manager of instructional technologies for Wayne County Schools, withstood delays brought on by the government sequester in April — delays that caused crucial approvals from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to take several weeks or months longer than usual. Schramm says he’s thrilled to see that his financial projections are being met. That’s even after paying rent, building costs, salaries and going through refinancing to survive the delays.

Schramm is the author of the Compete Mead Maker, which was published in 2003 and has sold about 60,000 copies. He started making mead a decade ago, knows its history, the many forms it takes, and realizes that turning craft mead into the next craft beer is “somewhat of an uphill battle” even when at least four metro Detroit craft brewers are succeeding at making mead. B. Nektar Meadery, also in Ferndale, is a supporter of Schramm’s. The two make different styles of mead and B. Nektar is making mead as fast it can to keep up with demand.

For Schramm the opening of his own establishment and the growing taste for mead is a dream come true.

“I’ve worked hard to build this industry…I’m working hard to promote this hobby and this industry,” he says. “This is such an exciting time for me.”

His daughter Allison is managing Schramm’s Mead and “doing everything except making the mead,” which is Ken Schramm’s job. She has the help of several employees. Schramm’s Mead will serve its fermented honey-based beverage with cheese plates and charcuterie. Schramm smokes meats too. It’s located at 327 W. 9 Mile Road.

So far the customers coming for a glass are about half mead drinkers, half not.

“Some are familiar with it or know it well. They come from craft beer and wine circles,” he says. “Some know who I am and were looking forward to the place opening. Others have never tried it, are interested in seeing what mead is.”

Source: Ken Schramm, founder and mead-maker, Schramm’s Mead
Writer: Kim North Shine