The founders and owners of Superstition Meadery were recently named Arizona Small Business Persons of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Jennifer and Jeff Herbert began Superstition Meadery by home brewing mead in their backyard as a hobby. Now, Superstition features a tasting room and production facility in downtown Prescott.
It welcomes guests with its award-winning mead and hard ciders and has created more than 200 unique products in less than seven years, according to Jeff Herbert, Superstition CEO and owner.
The Herberts’ passion for craft beverage and dedication to creativity and innovation has helped them build a successful business and receive recognition from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“We’re a husband and wife team and that’s always a little bit of a struggle and I don’t know if it’s more or less of a struggle than it would be if we were just normal business partners. We just look at each other like, ‘We did it.’ It’s really just an uplifting feeling,” said Jennifer Herbert, Superstition chief strategic officer and owner.
“The mission of our company is really just to reintroduce the world to mead. A lot of people don’t even know what mead is,” Jennifer explained.
Mead is a fermented honey beverage made with water and yeast. It is not classified as wine because wine is made from fermented fruit, not honey.
“There’s a lot of wineries, there’s a lot of breweries and we were interested in just carving a niche of our own and doing something that’s different for a business challenge,” she explained.
Jeff Herbert explained that when he and his wife started Superstition in 2012, it was the smallest winery in Arizona and produced 300 gallons.
“In 2017, we made 29,000 gallons of mead and hard cider and we became the largest winery in Arizona five years into our business,” Jeff said.
In addition to the recognition of Superstition’s business practices, its mead and hard ciders have received praise.
“We’ve been named a top 100 craft brewer in the world out of over 36,000 businesses on RateBeer.com. And, just eight weeks ago they did an official ranking of the top 100 and we were 35thin the world out of over 36,000 businesses,” Jeff said. “We also win medals every year at the world’s largest commercial mead competition, which is called The Mazer Cup International.”
Jeff explained that before this venture, he and Jen had never run a business with employees and had little-to-no experience in the restaurant and brewery industry.
When they set out to start Superstition, they sought advice from industry and small business professionals and would recommend that to others who are considering starting a small business.
Jeff said, “You really need to do as much research as you can to figure out as much as possible. How does the industry function that you want to get into? How does business work that you want to obtain?”
He also said a nearby Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can offer a variety of resources to people who want to start a small business or need assistance navigating their small business.
He said it can provide business counseling, conference rooms, connections to experts in the finance industry and more.
“We’ve received a lot of excellent information and advice from the SBDC center and it’s one of the examples out there of how the government really is helping small businesses and it’s free,” Jeff said.
With its growth, highly recognized business practices and award-winning products, Superstition is planning on opening a location in downtown Phoenix.
“We’re going to be able to do that pretty effectively by being in the [fifth] largest city in the country- right in the center of it,” Jeff said.
“It’s going to be an outstanding space,” he said. “We’re really just so proud of everything we’ve accomplished, our staff has accomplished and we’re grateful to everyone who has helped us along the way and we can’t wait for what’s next.”