Clarksville, Tennessee, is located 50 miles northwest of Nashville and only a couple of miles from the Kentucky border. It is here that you will find Trazo Meadery, the first meadery in the state of Tennessee. Being the first it took the owners educating not only the public but the state regulatory commission on what mead is and how it is produced.
Located in downtown Clarksville on Franklin Street, Trazo Meadery has become a popular place in the short time it has been open. In a state where Tennessee whiskey and craft beer breweries are the norm, Trazo Meadery is carving out a name for itself and garnering a loyal following.
The History Of Mead And Trazo Meadery
Mead, often referred to as honey wine, has been around for thousands of years. The earliest evidence of mead dates to around 7000 B.C., where archeological evidence of pottery found in Northern China shows evidence of a fermented drink with honey, fruits, and rice, making it the oldest known alcoholic beverage. Mead, a fermented drink using honey, water, and botanicals, became popular in Europe during the Bronze Age, but with the invention of beer Mead took a back seat.
Trazo Meadery is out to change that. It’s a family-run business with David, Becky, and son Travis Powell at the helm. Trazo had its beginning when Travis was around 8 or 9 years old, and his grandfather decided to start raising bees. After being stung several times, he quickly decided bees were not in his future; however, young Travis decided to take over the hives and learned all about beekeeping. Always having a desire to make a business of his hobby of beekeeping, after college Travis and his parents started experimenting with the making of mead.
Their first mead was from one of Travis’s friends from the Czech Republic. The family mead recipe has been used since the 1700s. After a lot of trial and error, they learned to produce mead that was exceptional.
David Powell is the driving force behind the actual production, while mom Becky is the Chief Financial Officer. All the mead is produced on the family farm in Adams, Tennessee, using yeast from Travis’s grandmother’s sourdough bread recipe. Trazo Mead sources its honey from around the world only, using the finest ingredients.
Each honey imparts a different flavor depending on where it was produced. Since honey is made from the nectar of flowers, different flowers produce different flavors and colors.
Since opening, beekeepers from around the world have reached out to Trazo, wanting them to sample and use their honey. Some of the honey makes the grade and some doesn’t. There is also some honey that David wants to get his hands on but either shipping costs or problems with sourcing have proved difficult.
Trazo’s Specialty Mead (And The Road To Making Mead In Tennessee)
Trazo Meadery specializes in what is called “Show Mead,” the simplest-to-make mead, which consists of honey, water, and yeast. Getting the license to produce the mead took a little educating of the Tennessee regulatory authority.
Being the first meadery in the state, no one really knew how to classify the license. Was it a brewery, distillery, or winery? After some back and forth and looking at the process of how mead is produced, it was decided that it closely resembled a winery, and Trazo’s license was issued. In 2016, Trazo Meadery was officially in business.
At first, Trazo distributed mead to businesses both in and out of state, but after some time, the family decided that having to go through a distributor and not being able to educate and introduce their mead to the customer just wasn’t worth it. In May of 2020, the tasting room in Clarksville was opened and they haven’t looked back since.
Since the beginning, Trazo Meadery made it their mission to produce the finest Mead possible and offer their customers a stellar experience when visiting the tasting room.
What To Expect When You Visit Trazo Meadery
When you enter the meadery, the first thing you notice is how clean it is. Not just clean as in no dirt, but clean as in not a lot of unnecessary things hanging on the walls or cluttering up the place. There is a beautiful wooden bar with the mead behind the bar along with tables lined up next to the wall. Since a lot of people don’t know what mead is, Travis loves introducing it to first-timers.
Trazo Meadery wants to give customers a superior experience, so everything is served in an elegant fashion with elegant food. The food, in a word, is fantastic. You can order:
- Bacon gouda grilled cheese
- Charcuterie boards with imported meats and cheeses
- Smoked salmon toast
- Black cherry skillet corn cake
All of these options are delicious. Occasionally Travis serves up sourdough bread made from his grandmother’s recipe. His grandmother never let anyone pay for the bread, so in honor of her, the bread is given away to the customers.
Trazo makes it their mission to provide exceptional mead, food, and service at a reasonable price. As Travis said, “It is our passion, and we want to share it.” They strive to give a stellar customer experience, and it shows.
Trazo sells a lot of flights with a variety of different meads, giving you a chance to sample different ones produced from different sourced honey. Not only can you experience the mead, but Trazo also produces cider. Due to the law in Tennessee, Trazo is also allowed to sell bottles to go. They even sell a box containing six 2-ounce samples of various meads.
Pro Tip: Still wondering what mead tastes like? The closest comparison I can make for someone that has never tasted mead is that it’s like a sweet dessert wine that has a honey flavor.
Why You Need To Visit Trazo
A visit to Trazo Meadery is perfect for meeting friends for lunch or an elegant night out. And since it is downtown, it is conveniently adjacent to a lot of things Clarksville has to offer. Trazo Meadery is a perfect destination on that weekend trip from Nashville when you want to do something different and have a great time.
One thing I discovered at Trazo is their willingness and enthusiasm for sharing their passion. Anytime the owners of a business are excited to share what they love doing, it makes for a great experience.
Pro Tip: While you are visiting Trazo Meadery take some time to check out the various murals, statues, and sculptures that dot the downtown Clarksville area.