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B.Nektar Meadery adds jobs, second Ferndale location

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On the heels of B.Nektar Meadery's opening a second location in Ferndale, the honey wine maker that's gone national is adding weekend hours and hiring staff.

The five-year-old mead maker is also adding a spring festival to complement the annual mead meet-up that celebrates its anniversary every August. The festival is April 20, noon to 6 p.m. at the original B. Nektar on Jarvis St.

B. Nektar now sells its meads in about a dozen states and added a second production facility, which also has a tap and tasting room, in January. The new location in a warehouse on Wordsworth St. complements the original facility. The new place will make lower-alcohol, more-carbonated mead while the original location will produce higher-alcohol, non-carbonated varieties and be the site of new product experimentation.

The new hours and production demands call for more staffing, and founder and owner Brad Dahlhofer is interviewing this week, looking to expand a work crew that numbers about 10.

To be interviewing and creating jobs is ironic for Dahlhofer, who started B. Nektar with his wife in 2008 after losing his job.

The initial plan before he was laid off was to fit mead, which he made into his basement, in as a sideline pursuit. With a three-month-old baby at the time, attempting a mead business full-time wasn't happening, he didn't think.

"We didn't think this would be a full-time job," he says. Now B.Nektar is the leading mead producer in Michigan, the state that makes more than any other, he says.

"It was our goal to to do this permanently as a living, but we didn't know when or how exactly. It's the fear of the unknown that keeps people from taking the risk. When I was without a job, the risk of doing wasn't there. I was already on the diving board. I might as well jump."

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Brad Dahlhofer, owner, B. Nektar Meadery, Ferndale
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