Day Drinkers Collective makes honey wine in the mountains of Chiang Dao. Already found in high-end venues in Bangkok, the wine-like drink comes from a Thailand-based couple Will Le Masurier and Pitchayapak Wongsasuk who discovered the joys of mead-making in San Francisco and decided to bring it to the honey at home. Thailand got its first official homegrown mead in 2017, and the trend is growing. BK speaks with Will about the making mead and the honeywine boom.
Mead, that’s a bit niche. How did you get started?
We got the idea when we were in San Francisco, about a year and a half ago, and we went to a meadery over there, and it tasted so good, you know. Like, we couldn't believe they were doing this stuff just from honey. And we live in Chiang Dao, and we figured there’s so much honey in this area, lots of different types of honey. So my girlfriend started experimenting with it. It’s just honey, water, and yeast. We create it just how wine is made, so it’s a 12% honey wine. It takes about a month to two months to make, and now we’re playing around with pét-nat (pétillant naturel) and stuff like that. So we’re really trying to go in the natural wine direction.
Where can readers find your work in Bangkok?
We did some events down in Bangkok. Soho House invited us in February for their pre-opening, and we also started supplying Jim Thompson. We were down there [in March] for the opening so they’re putting our drinks on their menu. But right now we're still doing very small quantities. It's all our money, so like step by step every batch that we make, the money goes into producing double. Yeah, I mean I would say it's my girlfriend that is more the face of this, you know. I'm really just tasting it.
How are you getting along with Thailand's alcohol laws?
So, actually we decided to do this because it falls under a wine license. That’s not difficult to get. In our area, there's a lot of fruit wine producers who have licenses and can legally produce and legally sell and legally distribute. Just no one’s been doing mead. So this falls under cider, lao khao, and wine.The department in charge of giving out licenses to create alcohol in Chiang Dao, and you can get a type of community license. It’s taken about four months for the process.
Could you tell us a little bit about you and your girlfriend and how you got into fermentation?
My family house is in Chiang Dao. I’m half Thai, half British—moved back about six years ago and met my girlfriend about three years ago; she’s from Mae Sai. About a year ago she was getting into fermentation and creating like you know, ginger beer and stuff like that. I'm just really interested in fermentation. After we went to San Francisco, she started experimenting for about a year and then we just invited our friends over to our house—our guests and stuff like that. We invited them did some tastings and stuff like that, like really casual, you know. We were just doing it for fun, and then it started tasting really good.