PITTSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- Thousands of people flock to Starrlight Mead in Pittsboro to sample their award-winning mead.
"We started as home mead makers and really enjoyed the process," Starrlight Mead owner Becky Starr explained.
"We ended up entering a competition, a mead only competition, the largest in that world at that point and there were 212 entries and we took the gold medal in our category," she said. "They judged the nine gold medal winners against each other and we took best in show out of 212 meads so we were shocked and thought maybe we might be able to do this!"
The Starrs opened their first location in Pittsboro in September 2010. In October 2018, Starrlight Mead expanded into a larger meadery nearby on Lorax Lane for wine tastings and events with a production facility next door offering tours.
"When we first did a business plan there were only 60 meaderies in the country, now there are over 400. So, it's been growing a huge amount in the last 10 years," Becky Starr explained.
Even though mead is on the rise in popularity and has been around for centuries, the Starrs said most people haven't heard of it, including beekeepers.
"We've been surprised," Becky Starr explained. "We will be at a beekeeper meeting and there's 30 there and we ask how many have had mead and there's about five that will raise their hand."
The Starrs said the local beekeepers honey is the key.
"We go thru about four tons of honey a year," Ben Starr said. "People wonder if we just came up with this and one of my favorite things is when people say, 'Wait this is wine without grapes-is there alcohol?' Ben laughed. "Yes, there is! It's a lot of fun, honey tastes different than grapes so you get a lot of different flavors."
Starrlight Mead produces about 15 different flavors of mead. It is sold at many local bottle shops in North Carolina and online but most of their honey wine is sold on site.
The ninth annual holiday open house is Saturday, Dec. 8 from 12 p.m.- 6 p.m..
Starrlight Mead is located at 130 Lorax Lane, Pittsboro, NC 27312.
Local honey wine producer Starrlight Mead hosts Open House