THE MAN BEHIND MAGPIE MEAD - Steve Merr, better known as Magpie, tasted mead for the first time in 1990 at a Renaissance festival. It was a drink he immediately liked. Lack of a commercially available, quality product, motivated him to set out to find out about it. Magpie researched centuries-old texts and obscure information resources, trying to find information and recipes for mead. His findings motivated him to try his hand at making mead.
After years of trial and error, he developed a mead that he felt was of high enough quality to share with his friends from the renaissance fair. After a while, he was producing the maximum amount of wine legally allowed for a private person to make. With the demand for his mead outpacing his output, it became clear that he was on to something!
Over the next few years, he continued to improve and refine his mead-making techniques, attending seminars and classes on advanced wine making. He entered his mead in SCA drink makers competitions, and was thrilled when it won many awards. He knew he was on the right track.
In addition to making the traditional honey mead, he experimented with fruits he had never before seen in the making of mead, like Elderberry or Boysenberry. Magpie eventually developed the legendary varieties of mead now available: Red Raspberry Mead, Black Raspberry Mead, Elderberry Mead and Boysenberry Mead. In 2007, he added Blueberry Mead and Strawberry Mead. In addition, there are plans to introduce several other delicious mead varieties in the future.
Magpie purchased the land on which Magpie Farms is located, 87 acres of lush hills and woods in Bainbridge, New York. In June, 2006, Magpie Farms had its grand opening festival. Besides his mead making, he also produces his own honey, maple syrup and grows some of the fruit that goes into his mead.
Raised by his parents Jack and Linda Merr, who owned rides and games in Coney Island when he was growing up, Magpie was brought up in the amusement business. To this day, he is still enjoys being a showman, and frequents renaissance fairs, where he dresses in full costume of the period to promote his golden nectar to King and Maiden alike.