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Dwight Meadery Owner Says Senate Bill Would Help Expand Business

Brian Galbreath speaks
Unpossible Mead owner and mead maker Brian Galbreath speaks to the Senate Executive Committee on Wednesday on a bill that would allow his business to sell mead to local breweries. The committee passed the bill on a unanimous vote.

A Bloomington state senator's bill would allow businesses producing mead to sell to local breweries. Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from honey.

Republican Jason Barickman is responsible for the bill.

"This is about helping our businesses do exactly what we want them to do, which is to grow and add much-needed jobs to our local economies,” Barickman said in a press release.

He worked on it with Brian Galbreath, the owner and mead maker for Unpossible Mead in Dwight. Galbreath has been making mead professionally since the summer of 2018.

This is the second time the bill has been introduced. The Senate's limited schedule after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the first attempt at the bill from receiving a hearing.

Galbreath said the bill would let him expand the business.

"It would allow me to hire a assistant mead maker," said Galbreath. "I could bring in staff on the weekends so that way I'm not here what seems like 24/7."

He said it would also give him the chance to add production space, create jobs, and spend more time with his family.

"I've got a 2-year-old at home, and my wife's a kindergarten teacher," said Galbreath. "I really like them, I'd like to see them more often than I do, and then I also drive a semi part time three nights a week, so I'm a busy guy."

Galbreath said the bill would also allow him to sell gluten-free mead to breweries. Currently, mead is not included in Illinois liquor laws. 

He also said those opportunities would increase awareness of the Unpossible Mead brand and provide another avenue of revenue for the business. He said on the whole, the future is looking fairly bright.

"There's lots of irons in the fire right now," said Galbreath. "There's a lot of little things out there that can become big things."

The bill has passed the Senate Executive Committee on a unanimous vote. It now moves to the full Senate.

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Christine Hatfield, a graduate student in University of Illinois Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting program, is WGLT and WCBU's PAR intern for the first half of 2021.
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