Meet Your Maker: Andrew De Haan

July 17, 2017

We love mead. Heck, that’s why we spend literally every waking moment making, tasting, and enjoying it.

But have you ever thought about the brave humans who wade waist-deep in the honey to create this exquisite beverage, the oldest known alcoholic beverage in the world?

We figured it was high time to give our makers the spotlight, and to gain some insight into what their jobs entail- the hardships, the not-so-hardships (the easyships?), the agony and the ecstasy of artfully creating liquid gold.

FEST-Pizza-small

What do you call yourself, and what do others call you?  

I call myself Andrew De Haan, as that’s the name that was given to me by my fore-bearers. People call me Andrew or Big Pizza/Pizza. In the words of Andrew WK, “Don’t call me Andy.”

 

How long have you worked for B. Nektar?

Almost 2 years, minus a 4 month stint at the Brewery-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named.

 

What’s your favorite B. Nektar beverage and why?  

Slice of Life, because it’s the driest, spiciest, most incredibly crushable beverage we make.

 

Can you describe a typical workday as a Meadmaker?

Not sure there is a typical day for me. I do a lot of scheduling, planning for future batches, meetings and recipe calculation for small batches, working on process improvements, managing resources and inventory, and cleaning.

 

How about an atypical day?

 Actually making the product. Occasionally I will run the filter or do small additions, but it’s pretty rare for me to work directly with the honey or cider.

 

What’s been your biggest triumph as a Meadmaker? 

I do not view mead-making or brewing as being about big triumphs. It’s about a series of small accomplishments, all adding up to something bigger. With each batch or step in the process, there is something to take away from the experience. The thing I am most proud of was working with a couple people to reduce the time it takes to make some of our core products by a number of weeks. Each change in process made, over several months time, both increased our knowledge and the quality of our product. As a former co-worker of mine would say, “Quality is consistency,” and since I have been with B. Nektar, we have tightened our belts and are currently making the most consistent product I have seen us make. We have further to go, more to learn, always, onward and upward.

 

What is your ultimate form?

A super cereal creature once described by Al Gore as being half man, half bear, half pig.

 

What’s been the most important lesson you’ve learned in Meadmaking? 

Be patient. Rushing often leads to details skipped and corners cut, which will show up in the product.

 

Tell us about your amazing nickname:

 
When I was a brewer at Bell’s in Kalamazoo, I lived alone on the 3rd floor of an old house, full of musical instruments, beer and pizza. Since I worked with several other people named Andrew, one guy started calling me Big Pizza because of my love/consumption of pizza. I embraced it. When I came to B. Nektar, there was already another Andrew, so the nickname traveled with me. I no longer consume that much pizza on a regular basis, though definitely above average for most humans. My goals now are making it myself from scratch. I’m working on my dough recipe, as well as my oven skills. I hope to make homemade mozzarella soon, and one day build my own backyard, wood-fired oven.

 

What’s the most incredible event you’ve ever witnessed?

 A former maker pushing a tote full of cider off a back of a semi-truck. RIP Matthew.

 

Additional fun facts about you: 

I play bass and guitar; am an awarded poet and avid reader; am engaged to an incredible woman, Kate, and the adoptive father of the best doggle, Violet.

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  • SATURDAY! Join us at 2 p.m. in the B. Nektar taproom for the release of The Zombies Take Manhattan. Apple and cherry mead aged in Rye Whiskey barrels for 9 months.
#theneedformead #mead #whiskey #rye #zombies
  • Saturday...The Zombies Take Manhattan! Apple mead w/ cherry, aged in rye whiskey barrels. 500ml bottles, 11.8% abv. Lightly carbonated.
Bottle sales begin in our taproom on 5/18 at 2 p.m. #theneedformead #zombies #mead #ferndale
  • Chocolate + Coffee Sanchez bottles drop at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11th in our taproom! Live music by @afteroursband and food by @detroitpanzerotti later in the evening! Check out bnektar.com for more info! #springMAYhem #theneedformead #ferndale #mead #coffee #raspberry #chocolate
  • Taproom release 5/4, 2 p.m.!
Go to Bnektar.com for details.
#theneedformead
  • Spring MAYhem is coming! We have some BIG releases in our taproom starting May 4th, plus lots of other fun events! Episode 13 3 Year Reserve, Chocolate Coffee Sanchez, Vanilla Cinnamon, AND the return of Zombies Take Manhattan!!!
Go to BNektar.com or check out our Facebook page for dates, times, and deets. Let’s party friends! #theneedformead #springmayhem
  • Showcase Showdown! @brewdogoxford 👏👏
・・・
Our @bnektar showcase went down a treat and we’ve still got a few of their delicious meads left! 🐝
Fancy something a little bit different? Head down to the bar and get stuck in! 🍻
#brewdog #brewdogoxford #oxford #visitoxford #bnektar #bnektarmeadery #mead #americanmead #americancraft #craftmead #drinkcraftnotcrap #gimmegimmegimme #webleedcraftbeer #meadlife
  • New Punk Lemonade T’s are in stock in our taproom and on our website!
Soft & stretchy black cotton with our pal Bee Bee Damone printed on front. Get yours today before they buzz off! #punklemonade #upthepunx
  • Whatcha doin’ this weekend? We’ve got some cool adult beverages in our taproom! Check out our website (link in bio) for our current tap list and hours. FYI, we’re open Easter Sunday from 2-8 p.m. #theneedformead
  • Stupid Man Suit (cider w/cherry, raspberry, & black currant) bottles are for sale in our taproom! If you’re not local to Ferndale, start looking for these bad bois on May 1st in your area. #sparklemotion
  • TOMORROW (4/10) in the B. Nektar Taproom we will be opening up some archived bottles of 2016 (batch#414; 24 btls ONLY), tapping a rare keg of 2017 (batch#563) and the recent 2019 release (batch#726) for a vertical tasting experience. (1oz pours only) 
Comment sheets will be available so you can let us know what you think when you taste.
#dragonsarereal
  • #DragonsAreReal drops tomorrow at 2 p.m.! We have an entire day and night of fun stuff in our taproom, too! Live music, food, and plenty of mead! Check out BNektar.com or our Facebook page for more info!
#dragons #springiscoming #gameofthrones #ferndale #mead
  • Well, @neilhimself has a bottle of Believe- an apple mead fit for the Gods! Many thanks to the team at @Starz and @FremantleUS.  Tune in for Season 2 this March!