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Alberta couple to open meadery in New Sarepta’s former fire hall

Click to play video: 'Alberta couple to open meadery in New Sarepta’s former fire hall' Alberta couple to open meadery in New Sarepta’s former fire hall
WATCH ABOVE: From the bustling streets of Hong Kong to the hamlet of New Sarepta south of Edmonton, husband and wife William and Mika Munsey will soon open a small business: Highwater Honey and Mead. As Morgan Black explains, it involves an old fire hall – Dec 26, 2020

From the bustling streets of a major city in Asia to a quiet hamlet in Alberta: William and Mika Munsey are chasing their dream of opening a new business.

Fifteen years ago, William and Mika moved from Hong Kong to New Sarepta, a hamlet with a population of just over 500. They purchased a berry farm.

“We wanted to raise our kids under those big blue skies I remembered from my childhood,” Will said.

“I told my wife: ‘All we will have to do is stand at the gate and take people’s money while they pick berries.'”

William and Mika Munsey with their children in Hong Kong. Courtesy: William Munsey

But it wasn’t nearly that easy.

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“It turns out, it was a lot of work. I didn’t understand what farming was,” Will said.

He began to look into a new venture: beekeeping. The experience was life-changing.

“I had two hives… then I had four… then I had 12. Now I have more than 50.”

He began producing mead, a fermented mixture of honey, water and yeast. Will adds berries from the area to create new flavours.

Read more: Making the mead at Saskatchewan’s first dedicated craft meadery

With dreams to expand, Will sent a proposal to the County of Leduc to lease the old fire hall. Construction has begun on a new hall. On Nov. 10, the county accepted his proposal.

“They really liked it. Now we are in the middle of lease negotiations,” he said. “I’m going to put in a local shop, with all things made around here,” Will said. “The meadery will be filled with all the equipment a winery in southern B.C. would have.”

The couple hopes the new venture will bring new life to New Sarepta.

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“I have never been a creative person. Now I find I am. I love what I’m doing. I want to bring that feeling of change to this community.”

The business is currently known as Highwater Honey and Mead but will become Old Station Honey and Mead Company once they move in to the new space in 2021.

Read more: Bushwakker in Regina keeping mead day tradition alive through online purchasing

Will said the experience has been incredibly emotional.

“Being part of the community and doing something people support… My world has just exploded,” he said.

“I want to take a hard-working agricultural past and do something through a really troubled present to take us to a new future, one still based on hard work and people pulling together.”

Will said the business’ close proximity to the Edmonton International Airport and the duo’s connection to Hong Kong means they may be able to more easily export the mead to Asian markets.

Click to play video: 'Lakeside Dairy’s professional cheesemaker Ian Treuer on the science and magic of making cheese' Lakeside Dairy’s professional cheesemaker Ian Treuer on the science and magic of making cheese
Lakeside Dairy’s professional cheesemaker Ian Treuer on the science and magic of making cheese – Nov 21, 2020

“I have so much emotion invested in this now. I can’t imagine stopping. I may get stopped because I’m 59 years old,” he laughed.

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“When do you stop caring about something you’re passionate about? I don’t think you do.”

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