VIKING mead in an array of different flavours will be on sale in York after lockdown.

The owners of Viking gift shop Asgard have secured an alcohol licence in order to sell a specialist range of meads from their Little Stonegate premises.

James and Catriona Glazzard opened the business in July 2019 selling a range of replica Viking artefacts, textiles and books.

But they now want to add Viking mead to their shelves.

Mead, explains Catriona, is a strong alcoholic drink made by fermenting water and honey with yeast and was popular in Viking times.

"The Vikings drank mead but also light beer because it was safer than drinking water. The brewing and fermenting processes killed off all the bacteria and staved off dysentery," she said.

And mead has undergone its own makeover in recent times - much in the pattern of gin, becoming more popular and available in a wide range of flavours and styles.

Catriona said: "From being a niche interest, mead is now a lot more popular.

"Ten years ago, there were only one or two places in the UK that made it but in the past three or four years there has been more and more domestic manufacturing."

Lyme Bay Winery is one example where manufacturers are experimenting with the ancient product, making a black cherry mead as well as a chilli one.

Catriona said: "They sent us some samples of their Christmas mead and it was really good. It tasted almost mulled with flavours of cinnamon and cloves.

"But the black cherry was my favourite - I would love to make a trifle with that!"

Catriona says mead is quite strong - at 10 or 12 per cent - and is sweet like a dessert wine, although you can buy drier varieties. Sparkling versions are available too.

Elderflower flavoured mead is also popular, she added.

The shop plans to sell mead to customers once it reopens after lockdown. It will only be available to be consumed at home and not on the premises, she added.

"We want to introduce mead to people who have not had it before. It is not something you find in the supermarket.

"To be able to bring it into the shop and introduce it to people will be awesome. It is something a bit different. We will not be selling beer or gin - just mead because it fits in with our ethos."

The shop also sells decanters and glass ware - ideal for mead, she added.

The couple applied to City of York Council's licensing section for a premises licence/club premises certificate plus sale by retail/supply of alcohol.

A spokesperson for City of York Council said: "Police mediated with the applicant and agreed conditions, no representation have been received. The licence has been approved in the terms applied for with agreed conditions from the police."

The Licensing Application Register can be viewed by prior arrangement with City of York Council Licensing Section (Tel: 01904 552422) at Hazel Court, EcoDepot, James Street, York, YO10 3DS between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

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