Navigating Change While Growing Your Business
In the realm of mead, Derek Martin stands as a testament to passion and dedication. As the owner of Martin Brothers Winery, Derek shares his remarkable journey from graduating high school in 2009 to becoming a key player in the mead industry. In an episode of the Harvest to Pour Podcast I interviewed Derek and learned about his journey with Martin Brothers Winery, his shift from wine to mead production, moving the company from Missouri to Colorado, the challenges he’s faced, and the growth of his business.
A Shift from Grapes to Honey:
The story begins with the establishment of Martin Brothers Winery in Hermann, Missouri, a town renowned for its winemaking heritage. Derek’s family, particularly his two oldest brothers and parents, played a pivotal role in kickstarting the idea of opening a winery. Initially focusing on grape wines, the winery transitioned to traditional mead, drawing inspiration from the allure of honey varietals.
We currently have a goal of highlighting honey varietals because it’s not even commonly known. You know, the amount of people that you meet. When you get talking about honey varieties. They don’t comprehend it.
The Unique Process of Sourcing Honey:
Unlike conventional wineries, Martin Brothers Winery found its niche in crafting mead with a focus on honey varietals. Derek sheds light on the intricate process of sourcing honey from commercial beekeepers. These beekeepers, engaged in pollination services, provide a fascinating array of honey from diverse regions, such as orange blossom honey from Florida and coastal Mexico, blueberry honey from Canada, and alfalfa honey from Central Wyoming.
Challenges and Triumphs in Scaling Production:
As the winery scaled production, challenges emerged, particularly in the cost and time associated with honey fermentation. Derek highlights the significance of yeast strains in fermentation efficiency and quality. The decision to use honey less than a year old became a crucial factor, considering the potential impact of stored honey on the final product.
Meeting Demand and Business Expansion:
With success came the challenge of meeting growing demand. Derek shares insights into the careful balance of demand and production, acknowledging the need for efficiency in the setup. The move from Missouri to Hayden, Colorado, marked a strategic decision to reignite the business and explore new horizons.
From Missouri to Colorado: Ambitious Expansion Plans:
The conversation unfolds with Derek’s ambitious plans for business expansion. While maintaining a strong presence in Missouri, the winery aims to grow its exports to Colorado. Derek envisions a future where Martin Brothers Winery becomes a prominent player in the mead industry, hiring a team of full-time employees and contributing to the growth of the community.
Derek Martin’s journey is a testament to the intricate artistry of traditional mead production. From sourcing honey varietals to overcoming challenges in scaling, Martin Brothers Winery exemplifies a commitment to quality and innovation. As the winery continues to carve its path in the mead industry, Derek’s vision for growth and community impact remains at the forefront.
Tune in to the episode to delve deeper into Derek’s business and savor a special gift courtesy of Martin Brothers as a token of appreciation for your listenership.