The Ann Arbor area is already home to tons of options for the beer lover, but a husband and wife team see potential in the mead and cider arena. Come early next year, Matthew Ritchey and Lauren Bloom plan to to open Bløm Meadworks on the first floor of 100 S. Fourth Ave. in downtown.
The space will feature meads made on-site and locally-sourced ciders and a community taproom connected to the production space. Ann Arbor-based architects Adam and Lisa of Synecdoche Design and O’Neal Construction have been hired to design the space.
Ritchey found success in the beer business when he founded Begyle Brewing Company in Chicago. He remains a co-owner in the business, but recently learned that he has an allergy to gluten. Mead — made with honey, yeast and water and fermented — is naturally gluten-free. Thus, he decided to expand upon his expertise.
What will Bløm Meadworks mead apart from other meads that tend to be sweeter and higher in alcohol content is that Ritchey — using local ingredients — brews it to have a drier, more carbonated quality, which he likens to that of a hard cider or craft beer.
For Bloom’s part, she brings an interest in local food systems, plus her Swedish heritage, which inspired the naming of the brewery.
“We are excited to bring what we believe is a unique beverage and food offering and community gathering space to the vibrant downtown Ann Arbor neighborhood,” she says in a statement.
It’s not quite clear what food offerings might be on hand, but with Bloom’s background as a former vice president and board member of the Slow Food Chicago sustainability organization, that locally-sourced theme will likely play a role.
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