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Cassidy Webb

Oakland Park’s First Meadery, Brewlihan, Celebrates Grand Opening


On March 3rd, Oakland Park’s first and only meadery celebrated its grand opening. Brewlihan, owned by husband and wife John and Stacey Hoolihan, offers mead (honey wine) tastings as well as prepackaged mead bottles available to-go via exclusive club membership.

What is Mead?

Mead is an alcoholic beverage that is made in a similar fashion as beer, wine, or cider, but fermented using honey as the main sugar source. When fermentation happens, the yeast eats sugar, and the sugar source gets converted to alcohol. While wine is made from fermented grapes and cider is made from fermented apples, mead is made from fermented honey.

Not all mead is sweet, though. According to John Hoolihan, their mead comes in a range of flavors and sweetness levels, and there is something for everyone. They have meads that are dry similar to Chardonnay or Zinfandel as well as ones that are on the sweeter side of the spectrum.

Brewlihan Already Has a Devoted Following

When John first tried mead, he had already been brewing beer as a hobby. Shortly after trying it the first time, he started making mead on the side while working as a Broward County School District Assistant Principal.

Although John was content with his career in education, his brand started gaining recognition on an app called Untappd. Untappd is what Yelp is to restaurants but for the craft beverage industry. John says he is proud to be the 2nd highest-ranked beverage producer in the world on the app.

John and Stacey began getting invited to various craft beer festivals where they gained an even greater following. People began asking John when he was going to open a local meadery, and he realized he had a unique opportunity to bring a beverage to Broward County that nobody else was making. John explains, “I wanted to do something in alignment with my passion for high-quality flavor and taste, but didn’t want to saturate the market with another brewery.”

Inside the Meadery

Brewlihan is decked out in honeycomb pattern decor and science drawings, representing the careful process they use to ferment honey and craft delicious meads. Inside the meadery, you’ll see plenty of room for seating and tasting as well as large fermentation takes and oak barrels where the brews are flavored, filtered out, and left to age so they can yield rich flavors. They rely on a lot of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and fruits, and the meads are made with honey sourced in Florida.

Currently, they offer 16 draft lines of mead. The public can come in and try one, sample in flights of four for $17, or try everything they have for just $45. Brewlihan also has food trucks on site and various types of beer available for all beer lovers.

At the grand opening, their bestseller was the Cucumber Lime, a well-balanced mead that John describes as something you’d drink poolside. It combines refreshing cucumber with the zestiness of lime. The second bestseller was the Watermelon Strawberry, which tastes exactly like a watermelon Jolly Rancher.

But if you’re looking to try something that is explosive in flavor, you should try John’s personal favorite: The Vanilla Diatomic. It is a raspberry-blueberry mead fermented with raspberry blossom and blueberry blossom honey then aged on three different types of vanilla bean.

Brewlihan plans to hold specials, as well. John says, “as a former teacher I love educators and value the work they do. On Fridays we plan to do a happy hour for teachers, offering a $3 off special on all ciders for educators with proof of employment.”

The Lab Membership

Brewlihan is different from other breweries not only for its mead but for its exclusive membership. “The Lab” is an exclusive club with 250 members and 50 more on the waitlist. With a low annual fee, members get six exclusive members-only bottles of mead, 10% off all tasting room purchases, an invite to their yearly member party, and other special perks.

Try Brewlihan This Weekend

John prides himself on creating an environment where people care about one another and feel as though they belong. His tasting hall has a small-town feel consisting of people who are loyal followers of his brand and are always welcoming more.

Next time you’re looking to let loose with friends, kick-start the weekend, or simply try something new, head over to Brewlihan and try mead for yourself! And don’t be afraid to ask questions – John loves to talk about his craft, is passionate about educating people about mead, and is dedicated to helping you find a flavor profile that will make you go, “wow!”

Brewlihan’s tasting hall is located at 3472 NE Fifth Ave Unit 1 and is open Friday 4-10pm, Saturday 12-10 pm, and Sunday 12-6 pm. You can also get on The Lab membership’s waitlist by emailing Brewlihan at


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