Castle Rock meadery adding downtown Littleton taproom

Mike DJ

Michael Fagan and DJ Kurtz founded Honibrook Meadery. (Courtesy Honibrook)

Colorado’s booze scene has an old beverage on the rise — mead. 

While the Centennial State is known for its craft beer scene, Michael Fagan has eyes only for the honey-derived beverage. He founded Honnibrook Meadery in Castle Rock five years ago with DJ Kurtz, when there were only about 10 meaderies in the state. 

“It’s definitely a fast-growing industry and it’s really kind of fun right now,” Fagan said. “It’s kind of how beer was in the ’80s. There’s a lot of white space.”

honnibrook website

The meadery now has about 90 mead recipes, the most popular being the peach habanero mead. (Courtesy Honibrook)

The number of meaderies is now up to 23. And Fagan and Kurtz are growing their business too. Honnibrook is adding a second taproom, this time in downtown Littleton at 5757 S. Rapp St., in a building Fagan calls “the cottage.”

Fagan said Honnibrook has become a destination place where people can learn about “the oldest beverage known to man,” and he wanted a second location that would reach more people than the Castle Rock warehouse space. 

“This property in Littleton came up and we saw that we could do something really special with it, like a cottage garden,” he said. 

They signed a lease for the quaint, 1,000-square-foot space last week and anticipate investing over $150,000 in updating the 114-year-old building. Fagan said they’re funding the buildout from Honnibrook’s profits and personal financing. The meadery did $420,000 in sales last year. 

Before Honnibrook, Fagan and Kurtz planned to open a brewery. But while taking business classes, Fagan said, they started experimenting with mead and, after getting good feedback from classmates, changed course.

“It was light bulbs,” Fagan said. “Do you want to be one of 800 breweries in Colorado or, at the time … 10 meaderies in the state? We want to be one of 10 instead of 800.” 

Mead, which is made by fermenting honey, water and yeast, is usually made like wine, resulting in a very sweet, high-alcohol beverage. But, with a background in homebrewing, Fagan said he approaches mead fermentation such as brewing. 

Fagan described Honnibrook’s mead as heavier than craft beer, but lighter than wine. The result is a less sweet mead with a 6.2-percent alcohol content. The meadery now has about 90 mead recipes, the most popular being the peach habanero mead.

After perfecting their methods, Fagan and Kurtz opened Honnibrook in a 1,000-square-foot warehouse unit at 2276 Manatt Court. They’ve been on a growth spurt since. Fagan said they’ve added three more units to the original space and now have 4,500 square feet. 

The Castle Rock meadery, which is split between a production facility and taproom, produced nearly 8,000 gallons of mead last year and is set to surpass that this year. 

“I think the thing that surprises a lot of people is it’s the most sustainable beverage known to man,” he said. “Honey just happens, you don’t have to farm it, you don’t have to water it. It’s a byproduct of agriculture.”

Honnibrook sources its honey from Colorado Springs’ Lockhart Honey Farms and distributes to 22 craft tasting rooms in Colorado. It’s also sold in the liquor store Bevy’s. 

With the Colorado industry growing, Fagan said his goal is to add more Honnibrook taprooms around the state to educate people about mead. 

“We’re kind of trying to create an experience,” Fagan said. “It’s not just about drinking and having a good time. “I think that’s the reason we’ve been super popular in Castle Rock. I’m hoping we can do the same thing in Littleton and get the word out that mead is not this scary weird beverage, it’s actually nice and sustainable.” 

Mike DJ

Michael Fagan and DJ Kurtz founded Honibrook Meadery. (Courtesy Honibrook)

Colorado’s booze scene has an old beverage on the rise — mead. 

While the Centennial State is known for its craft beer scene, Michael Fagan has eyes only for the honey-derived beverage. He founded Honnibrook Meadery in Castle Rock five years ago with DJ Kurtz, when there were only about 10 meaderies in the state. 

“It’s definitely a fast-growing industry and it’s really kind of fun right now,” Fagan said. “It’s kind of how beer was in the ’80s. There’s a lot of white space.”

honnibrook website

The meadery now has about 90 mead recipes, the most popular being the peach habanero mead. (Courtesy Honibrook)

The number of meaderies is now up to 23. And Fagan and Kurtz are growing their business too. Honnibrook is adding a second taproom, this time in downtown Littleton at 5757 S. Rapp St., in a building Fagan calls “the cottage.”

Fagan said Honnibrook has become a destination place where people can learn about “the oldest beverage known to man,” and he wanted a second location that would reach more people than the Castle Rock warehouse space. 

“This property in Littleton came up and we saw that we could do something really special with it, like a cottage garden,” he said. 

They signed a lease for the quaint, 1,000-square-foot space last week and anticipate investing over $150,000 in updating the 114-year-old building. Fagan said they’re funding the buildout from Honnibrook’s profits and personal financing. The meadery did $420,000 in sales last year. 

Before Honnibrook, Fagan and Kurtz planned to open a brewery. But while taking business classes, Fagan said, they started experimenting with mead and, after getting good feedback from classmates, changed course.

“It was light bulbs,” Fagan said. “Do you want to be one of 800 breweries in Colorado or, at the time … 10 meaderies in the state? We want to be one of 10 instead of 800.” 

Mead, which is made by fermenting honey, water and yeast, is usually made like wine, resulting in a very sweet, high-alcohol beverage. But, with a background in homebrewing, Fagan said he approaches mead fermentation such as brewing. 

Fagan described Honnibrook’s mead as heavier than craft beer, but lighter than wine. The result is a less sweet mead with a 6.2-percent alcohol content. The meadery now has about 90 mead recipes, the most popular being the peach habanero mead.

After perfecting their methods, Fagan and Kurtz opened Honnibrook in a 1,000-square-foot warehouse unit at 2276 Manatt Court. They’ve been on a growth spurt since. Fagan said they’ve added three more units to the original space and now have 4,500 square feet. 

The Castle Rock meadery, which is split between a production facility and taproom, produced nearly 8,000 gallons of mead last year and is set to surpass that this year. 

“I think the thing that surprises a lot of people is it’s the most sustainable beverage known to man,” he said. “Honey just happens, you don’t have to farm it, you don’t have to water it. It’s a byproduct of agriculture.”

Honnibrook sources its honey from Colorado Springs’ Lockhart Honey Farms and distributes to 22 craft tasting rooms in Colorado. It’s also sold in the liquor store Bevy’s. 

With the Colorado industry growing, Fagan said his goal is to add more Honnibrook taprooms around the state to educate people about mead. 

“We’re kind of trying to create an experience,” Fagan said. “It’s not just about drinking and having a good time. “I think that’s the reason we’ve been super popular in Castle Rock. I’m hoping we can do the same thing in Littleton and get the word out that mead is not this scary weird beverage, it’s actually nice and sustainable.” 

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