Meadery plans summer opening at Tampa Heights location

Garagiste Meadery is shooting for a summer opening in Tampa Heights. Photo courtesy of Sean von Tagen.
Garagiste Meadery is shooting for a summer opening in Tampa Heights. Photo courtesy of Sean von Tagen.
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Chad Wiltz, his wife Sarah and their two children drive from Apollo Beach to Plant City to handpick strawberries.

Once home and washed, those strawberries aren't baked into a shortcake or preserved for jam.

Those handpicked strawberries are just one ingredient used in their original mead recipes which will be featured at the soon to be opened, Garagiste Meadery in Tampa Heights.

"Mead is an alternative product," Wiltz said. "It's different from beer and wine because it gets its sugar from honey."

Wiltz, a nuclear medical technologist, started making meads in 2014, after tasting one in Michigan.

"I tried it and I loved it but when I came back to Apollo Beach where we live, they didn't have anything like it," Wiltz said. "I finally built up the courage to make my own and started by giving it to families and friends."

Through trials and tribulations, Wiltz perfected the mead, which takes a minimum of a few months to make, sometimes even up to a year.

Because of the honey, it's also more expensive to make, compared to brewing beer.

The Wiltz's derive that honey 50 miles from where they make the mead.

"We've tried first and foremost to make the flavors relatable like our award-winning peanut butter and jelly mead," Wiltz said.

While searching for a location for the new meadery, Wiltz and his wife, who is a co-owner, traveled to Ybor City, thinking that would be an ideal location.

However, when the realtor showed them a building in Tampa Heights, it was a natural fit.

"We saw what was going on with the armature works and Foundation Coffee had just opened," Wiltz said.

The building, located at 1506 N Florida Ave will be ready to open as Garagiste Meadery in mid-July.

For more information and to stay up-to-date on the grand opening, visit facebook.com/garagistemeadery.

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