The Elevator Speech


So, you’re in an elevator with a guy in a nice-looking, blue-gray suit. Or, is it gray-blue? Is that what they call “steel blue” these days? Technically, the color is known as class color “livid,” sub-color “cadet-grey” hex-triplet #91A3B0. But we digress…

You’re on an elevator with this dapper man, and you have precisely sixteen floors to tell him about mead. (You would have had eighteen, but you have been obsessing over his suit.) How do you do it?

Recently, Groennfell Meadery received a visit from Mark, the Head Meadmaker at Artesano Meadery. We spent some time discussing our respective elevator speeches and it seems that we go for equally valid, but very different tacks.

There is the perennial issue of “mead” sounding dangerously like “meat.” Thus, the common response to “I work at a meadery” is “A meatery? Isn’t that just called a butcher’s shop?”

To deal with the Mead-Meat problem, Mark says, “I make mead, which is wine made from honey instead of grapes.” Beautiful in its simplicity! At Groennfell, we have taken to saying, “Actually, I brew mead,” hoping that the word “brew” gives people a clue that we are not fermenting lambs. Also, since our mead is definitely not wine-like, we try to eschew that particular term when referring to our product.

Another common tool is to reference the age of the beverage, hoping that this triggers some memory: “Mead is, in fact, the oldest fermented beverage.” We tend to stay away from this since it doesn’t actually give any new information about what we produce. We have also given up saying in an exasperated voice, “Seriously, you never read Beowulf? You know nothing about the Vikings?? You don’t even watch Game of Thrones???”

After much rehearsing at parties, with relatives, and even with the occasional bloke in a lift, we have a working speech that we feel gets across everything we want people to know about what we do.

Our speech in its entirety is as follows. When asked what he does professionally, our Head Meadmaker Ricky responds: 

“Actually, I brew mead for a living. ‘What’s mead,’ I hear you ask. Well, if it starts with grain it comes out as beer, if it starts with grapes it comes out as wine, and if it starts with honey, you have mead. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it; I thought all students were required to read Beowulf and Canterbury Tales. Oh well! Here’s my floor! Tonkity tonks!” 

At this point, Ricky will remove himself from the elevator whether it is his floor or not. In fact, the man has been known to ride up and down elevators all day just talking to random people about mead or any subject that comes to mind. No joke.

Do you have a good elevator speech? Post in the comments!

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