New Jersey’s first meadery, Melovino, opened six years ago, is still thriving, despite its location in the back end of the Millburn Mall. In addition to the diverse flavors of mead Melovino offers, owner Sergio Moutela introduced sparkling honey water as a non-alcoholic option—something he has been making for his family for years.
Three years after that introduction, Moutela has canned his delicious creation to share with the rest of the country. After hearing customers rave about it, he realized what a unique product he had.
“Months ago,” Moutela says, “we had been trying to think about what we can do to help our chances to survive this winter. We just threw some money at trying to can up this honey water, and that’s how it came to be.”
Made with the simplest ingredients (water and honey, that’s it), Melle Water is available for shipping nationwide. Its name was inspired by Moutela’s goddaughter, Amelia. We caught up with Moutela to ask about the new product, the varieties of honey used and his plans for the future.
Table Hopping: Tell me a little bit about your meadery, Melovino.
Sergio Moutela: I started making mead about nine or ten years ago, but before that I was brewing a ton of beer. Before that, I grew up making wine with my grandfather at home. We opened up Melovino back in 2014 and we quickly became very fast growing all from a place in the back of a mall.
TH: What exactly is mead and what is the process of making it like?
SM: Mead in its simplest form is just fermented honey. The process is very much like winemaking, but instead of starting with grape juice, we start with honey. It gets diluted with enough water to start at the same sugar content as wine would. Mead is the most versatile craft beverage, even more so than beer.
TH: Can you make different flavors of mead?
SM: We could really nail certain flavors that are really difficult to do in the beer world. For example, we have meads that taste exactly like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or even an apple pie. For our apple pie mead, we dilute all the honey with freshly pressed Jersey apple cider from Melick Orchards here in Lebanon (Hunterdon County). We age that with cinnamon and vanilla beans and what you get is basically a 14 percent ABV apple pie in a glass.
TH: Did the difficulties of this year lead you to releasing Melle Water?
SM: Melle Water has been a long time coming. I used to make it at home for me and my family. When we set up our meadery tasting room, we wanted to offer a non-alcoholic option for designated drivers or friends that possibly don’t drink. Everybody who tasted it was just amazed by how awesome it was. We’ve been considering trying to actually package this and make a separate business out of it.
TH: Where do you get the honey for the honey water?
SM: We source honey from all different areas. We also work with apiaries all around the country because there’s different honey varietals that we can get from a whole bunch of different places. We buy a lot of honey varietals from Bee Seasonal, which are sourced from Brazil, Mexico and even Germany. They have really exotic honeys that you don’t see anywhere else.
The biggest difference between what everybody else is doing and what Melle Water is doing is that all of their stuff is ridiculously overly sweet. Nobody else is putting out something that’s just honey. They get crazy with adding all of these other flavors on top of the honey. As our slogan says, let honey be thy flavor.
TH: So for example, take your Orange Blossom flavor. That’s just the honey in there that tastes like orange?
SM: Yeah, it’s just the honey! Right now we use this Mexican orange blossom honey that has citrusy notes and sweet white flower on the finish. That’s one of my favorites. Our Blackberry Mallow flavor is a blend of blackberry blossom honey, but the other half of the honey we use has vanilla cupcake and marshmallow notes. So when you put those two together it’s incredible. So all the flavor you get from the Melle Water is strictly honey. There’s nothing else in there.
TH: What are the benefits of drinking Melle or honey water in general?
SM: Honey itself has been used not only as food but as medicine for thousands and thousands of years. It helps with a better night’s sleep, digestion, energy. I try not to push all the health benefits (of Melle Water) but I do push how delicious it is and just that it’s also good for you, too.
TH: How has it been doing so far?
SM: We just launched it about a week ago, but it’s been doing pretty well. It’s been moving really quick and everyone seems interested in it. Once they get the taste, that’s all they need. Then it’s like head over heels for this stuff.
Even the guys who came in with the mobile canning line to help us package this up, one of them handed me a $100 bill and said just give me $100 worth of this stuff. So our first sale was made in the middle of packaging before it was all canned-up.
TH: What are your plans for Melle Water and Melovino going into the New Year?
SM: With Melovino, we’re basically just trying to stay alive just like all the other breweries, wineries and distilleries in the state. We’re looking to increase some more draft production and get more draft mead in cans to get out for distribution. We are also hoping to start a hard cider line. Then with Melle Water, we are just trying to continue growing it and get it into convenience stores and supermarkets all around the country. We’re just trying to build the brand.
Melle Water is available for nationwide shipping and can be ordered online. Flavors include Orange Blossom, Blackberry Mallow, Acacia Blossom and Raspberry Blossom. In addition to honey water, check out the different flavors of delicious draft mead available online at Melovino. If you’re local to the Melovino Meadery, located at 2933 Vauxhall Road in Vauxhall, you can pick up your Melle Water without the shipping fees. Check out the Melle Water Instagram page for updates.Click here to leave a comment