Viking mythology and philosophy is endlessly fascinating. The great sagas of the Norse gods and heroes continue to be retold and revamped through pop culture. Mead was a central part of viking culture, a source of celebration, worship and connecting with their roots.
Today, mead is experiencing a boom in popularity and its people like Peter Taylor who’re leading the charge in the UK and beyond. Taylor is the founder of Nidhoggr Mead and it was a pleasure to interview him about his love of viking philosophy, storytelling and great drinks.
From viking reenactor to mead seller
Over video, Taylor provided background into where his love of viking culture came from. Having previously served in the military, Taylor found the camaraderie and self-discipline of viking philosophy to be appealing and it led him to become a viking reenactor.
The idea that would become Nidhoggr Mead was born in lockdown and Taylor started making mead as a hobby. There came a point when he brought his mead to viking re-enactments and representatives from the Jorvik Centre in York tried his drinks.
After positive feedback, Taylor became a valued partner with the Jorvik Centre and went all in on his new business. While chatting to Taylor, it became evident he’s a born storyteller and extremely passionate about creating high-quality mead. (He cancelled a deposit on a house so he could put all his focus into the brand and that’s some great dedication).
The drink of rebels and outliers
In Norse mythology, Nidhoggr was a dragon that gnawed away at the roots of Yggdrasil, The World Tree. It was a mark of rebels, outlaws and criminals. Taylor reinterpreted that rebellious idea for the modern day to create a drink that stands out from other beverages like gin and rum.
Taylor has elaborated on this point in another interview:
“Ten or so years ago, gin was an older person’s drink but now it’s the fastest-growing drink in the world,” he said.
“We want to do the same thing with mead, creating cocktails with it, partnering with mixer companies and more. There is a QR code on the bottles, which takes you to a cocktail menu.
“We want to make mead modern. People watch Game of Thrones, play Assassin’s Creed Valhalla etc, and all of these things lend themselves to mead. It’s one of the most flexible drinks there is – you can have it hot or cold, neat or mixed, flavoured or not.”
Nidhoggr Mead is all about starting a mead revolution and there are several bottles to choose from. They range from classic mead crafted with local Yorkshire honey, to ginger mead and other interesting concoctions.
Features that stand out about Nidhoggr include being high-strength and natural, meaning no sugar or other flavourings are added. Taylor also puts a strong emphasis on using local ingredients to celebrate the spirit of Yorkshire and the vikings who cultivated the area long ago.
When asked which viking he’d liked to share a bottle of his mead with, Taylor smiled wryly and said it would be Harald Hardrada, a warrior who took part in many battles across Norway, Denmark, England and beyond. Hardrada has been identified as the last great viking and his accomplishments speak for themselves.
We all have a saga, stories woven together by our experiences. The story of Nidhoggr mead is sure to go from strength to strength and you can check out the shop and raise a flagon to your own saga.