Florida Foodie: Couple behind Zymarium mead share their love of fermented honey

Pair hope to open Orlando’s first meadery by end of 2021

Ginger and Joe Leigh love to talk about mead. It started as a hobby for the couple, then became a passion and now they hope to turn Zymarium Mead into a business.

“I really fell down the rabbit hole and got obsessed with the fermentation science and the art of mead making and just started making tons and tons of batches and trying to perfect everything,” Joe Leigh said.

The two have been making mead since 2014. Since then, they’ve entered their concoctions into numerous mead competitions and showcases.

“That’s actually what really got me going on mead-making was I started entering them and winning them and then ended up being a couple (of competitions) to 30 or 40,” Joe Leigh said.

Right now, Zymarium is still in its fledgling stages. The couple is working to secure a space licensing for their dream tasting room. They are also raising some funds through an IndieGoGo campaign.

While they work toward their goal of opening Orlando’s first meadery, they still work outside of the world of fermented honey, but that work is definitely reflected in Zymarium.

“I’m actually going to be designing the tasting room. I am an interactive designer, so it’s what I do professionally. So the two of us to collaborate is really an amazing opportunity because we’re combining the mead — which is predominantly his talents and expertise — with my side of it, which is doing interactive design,” Ginger Leigh said.

She designs and creates art installations around the country and the world under the name Synthestruct. She plans to have a permanent installation inside the Zymarium Meadery once it is up and running.

Joe Leigh works professionally as a software engineer. He brings those talents to bear when he is working on his mead recipes, including their most award-winning variety, “Nostalgia for Infinity.”

“I made this mead at least 30 different times — every time learning something new, tweaking the recipe, just changing one variable, making it five times five at the same time with a very one variable different each, because I’m a software engineer, so I’ve got to be very specific about my changes,” he said.

The Leighs share more of their love for mead and their plans for their meadery in the latest episode of Florida Foodie. They also discuss the meaning behind the name Zymarium and what varieties people can expect to try once their tasting room opens its doors.

Please follow our Florida Foodie hosts on social media. You can find Candace Campos on Twitter and Facebook. Lisa Bell is also on Facebook and Twitter and you can check out her children’s books, “Norman the Watchful Gnome.”

Florida Foodie is a bi-weekly podcast from WKMG and Graham Media that takes a closer look at what we eat, how we eat it and the impact that has on us here in Florida and for everyone, everywhere.

Find new episodes on Apple podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you download your favorite podcasts.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.