Making Mead and Better Food Systems for Us All – An Interview with Golden Coast Mead CEO, Frank Golbeck

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A few years ago, Frank Golbeck came home from his eighth 16-hour workday in a row and collapsed from exhaustion on his living room floor. His wife, Theresa, came up to him and said; “Frank, you’re not happy. Look at you, just lying on the floor there miserable after work. If you had all the time, money and energy in the world, what would you do?”

Golbeck had never stopped to ask himself if he enjoyed what he was doing with his life. Prompted by his wife’s question, his mind drifted back to his early years growing up in Orange County. He often visited his grandfather’s apple farm in San Bernardino and has fond memories of watching him share his honey wine (mead), hard cider and fruit wine with customers.

During his college years studying economic development at UC Berkeley, Golbeck and some friends worked at the student organic garden and made mead to share with their friends. Those were some of his favorite moments – breaking open a bottle of home-brewed mead to kick off a dance-until-the-sunrise kind of night.

Inspired by his wife’s encouragement and the joy of recollecting such happy times in his life, Golbeck called up his college friend and fellow mead maker, Joe Colangelo (now Golden Coast Mead Director of Sales and Marketing). They brainstormed about how to turn their love of mead into a viable business plan. Quickly recognizing a need for someone to manage their finances, they reached out to Praveen Ramineni (now Golden Coast Mead CFO), and working together, developed the concept for Golden Coast Mead (of which Golbeck is now CEO).

In 2010, after sending inquiries to more than 50 local breweries and wineries, the Broomell family (of Triple B Ranches and Vesper Vineyards) was the only respondent willing to share their capacity and expertise. With Triple B’s support, the Golden Coast Mead team sold their first batch of mead in 2011.

Today, almost five years later, Golden Coast Mead is fermenting mead in their own fully licensed facility with 4,370 gallons of fermentation capacity, and they distribute their ferments to nearly 100 accounts throughout San Diego County. They also serve select locations in Orange County, Los Angeles, New York and New Jersey.

Golden Coast

So what makes Golden Coast Mead special?

Golbeck calls their process and product “magic.”

“We are capturing sunshine and turning it into something you can pour for your friends and drink together,” gushes Golbeck. “Modern mead-making is a journey of discovery and craftsmanship.  Using a combination of innovation, science and educated guesswork, we unlock layers and styles of mead that no one has ever tasted.  There is a whole spectrum of mead for us to create that runs wider and deeper than that of beer and wine, and we are proud to do it in a natural, refreshing, and balanced way with no sulfites, filtration, or forced carbonation.”

Golden Coast Mead’s signature San Diego-style mead is a result of this commitment to innovation.

“By adjusting ingredient ratios, we are able to change the body and flavor profile to make it really well suited to our San Diego climate,” says Golbeck. “By using ale yeast and less honey, we are making meads that are crisp and light instead of thick and syrupy.”

View More: http://taylorabeel.pass.us/goldencoast

An all natural product? Check. Unique flavor profiles? Check. But what about the impact Golden Coast Mead is having on the bigger ecological system in the San Diego region and beyond?

“The bees enable and inspire this whole thing,” says Golbeck. “With colony collapse disorder, we have an opportunity to right an imbalance caused by monoculture, which is harmful to bees’ fragile immune systems. We are trying to promote organic agriculture business models by helping to build the market for local, organic honey on a large scale.”

So what’s the takeaway?

Golbeck hopes Golden Coast Mead will inspire people to do what they love and share it. In turn, perhaps this will create more sustainable food systems for us all.

You can taste Golden Coast Mead’s latest brews at their tasting rooms in Oceanside and Julian, look for them at a local beer and wine store near you, or try their mead at Slow Food Urban San Diego’s “Sweet Sips” Networking Event and Screening of “More than Honey” on July 23.

View More: http://taylorabeel.pass.us/goldencoast

Photo credits @Taylor Abeel of www.sojournimagery.com

Who are we?

On the cusp of the transition to 2013, you may be asking yourself a boatload of questions pertaining to your job, your family, your hobbies. How am I making a difference? Is my job meaningful to me? How can I improve my family life in this coming year? Is crocheting for me?

The answers to those reflections buzzing around in your head can probably be summarized in a few words: love, happiness, community, health, etc. Those simple words can mean a lot of things, but constructing the connotations behind the widely understood definitions can bring you closer to others you discover feel the same way.

Organizations need to define what is important to them too. Slow Food has a few words that have brought us all together and I think the beginning of a new year is a good time to revisit our purpose. How will Good, Clean, and Fair influence your life choices in 2013?

Good:

The word good can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. For Slow Food, the idea of good means enjoying delicious food created with care from healthy plants and animals. The pleasures of good food can also help to build community and celebrate culture and regional diversity.

Clean:

When we talk about clean food, we are talking about nutritious food that is as good for the planet as it is for our bodies. It is grown and harvested with methods that have a positive impact on our local ecosystems and promotes biodiversity.

Fair:

We believe that food is a universal right. Food that is fair should be accessible to all, regardless of income, and produced by people who are treated with dignity and justly compensated for their labor.

TAKE THE $5 CHALLENGE WITH SFUSD ON SEPT. 17TH!

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Slow Food vs. Fast Food?

-As Part
of Slow Food USA’s Campaign to Take Back the ‘Value Meal’,

Slow Food Urban San Diego Hosts
September 17th Event at Little Italy’s Amici Park





As part of Slow Food USA’s The $5 Challenge campaign to take back the ‘value meal’, Slow Food
Urban San Diego is proud to announce that it will be hosting ‘Together We Can
Take Back the Value Meal’ on Sept. 17, 2011 from 9:00a.m. – 1:30p.m.  The event will be open to the public and
will be held at Amici Park, located at Union Street, San Diego, CA 92101.  Slow Food Urban San Diego is an all
volunteer, local chapter of Slow Food USA,
a national non-profit
working for good, clean and fair food for all.

 

In response to a lack of access to fresh fruits
and vegetables, people eating more fast food than home-cooked meals and
increasing rates of diet-related disease, Slow Food USA’s recently launched
campaign is encouraging people across the country to cook slow food that costs
no more than five dollars per person, the cost of a typical fast food ‘value
meal’.  Attendees of Slow Food Urban
San Diego’s event will take a pledge to do the same.
  Supported by SD Weekly Markets, the event will take place
alongside the Little Italy Mercato, where vendors will be offering $5 lunch
alternatives.  At 12:00pm, the
community will gather in a lunchtime convivium.  Slow Food Urban San Diego will be on hand at Amici Park from
9:00a.m. – 1:30p.m. to answer questions and provide member services.

 


The
$5 Challenge
‘s overarching message is that slow food should
not have to cost more than fast food and that everyone has a right to it everyday.
Slow food – the opposite of fast food – is food that is good for those who eat
it, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet.  

 

“This is an opportunity for the San Diego urban
community to demonstrate together that there is a choice, and that good, clean,
and fair food can be affordable and accessible,'” said Kristen Goodrich, a
board member of Slow Food San Diego.

 

The campaign officially launches on Sept. 17
with a National Day of Action.  Along
with Slow Food Urban San Diego, thousands of participants will be attending or
hosting hundreds of slow food gatherings nationwide.

 

“Right now, we have policies that make it
harder to feed our children fruit than Froot Loops.  But everyday, against the odds, people find ways to cook real
food on a budget.  We need to make
cooking and eating that way a possibility for everyone,” said Viertel,
president of Slow Food USA. “If you know how to cook slow food on a budget, The $5 Challenge is a chance to teach
someone. If you want to learn, it is a chance to get started. And it is a
chance for us all to unite and begin pushing for the change we need.”  


There has been a tremendous amount of support from communities across America and the media is catching on too!  From Chicago to New York, Washington DC to Detroit, the $5 Value Meal challenge is sparking the minds of eaters nationwide.  






For more information, please visit SlowFoodUSA.org/5Challenge.