“I will never accept defeat. I will never give up.
These statements are part of the US Army Soldier’s Creed, so it’s no surprise that two Army veterans take this approach after losing their businesses.
In December 2019, Curtis Sims and Cameron Myers opened Two Warriors Meadery in West Monroe, the first such facility in the state.
Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops.
Two Warriors sold out in their first weekend and expanded production to include statewide distribution. In February, they purchased the building they opened in West Monroe. They made their first payment on the building at the end of March, and on March 31, a fire broke out in a nearby house, spread and decimated their production area.
Within hours, Sims was already working on how to build back bigger and better. He is looking for ways to multiply production by two or three, even if it means moving. Myers plans a larger tasting room and the addition of a beer garden with a stage to host events.
They hope to restart the brewing process within six months, but that’s the best case scenario.
Sims expected that the beekeeper they buy honey from will have to sell the spring honey harvest to other buyers, but he hopes they will soon use the fall harvest.
“I would like him to do Bochet by the end of the year,” Myers said.
Bochet is the most labor-intensive recipe they make, using a recipe from the 1390s. Their technique has won numerous awards. The honey is caramelized until it is almost black, and this process takes over 12 hours. Then they add the vanilla bean and the spices. The final product tastes like toffee, toffee, vanilla and toasted marshmallow.
The last bottles of any variety of Two Warriors mead available through their distributor, PF Importers, sold out about two hours after news of the fire spread. So if people find it on a shelf in a store, that’s the last chance to buy for a long time.
On April 10, they brought a few crates to the Scottish Tartan Festival in Minden. Myers said he thought they brought too much, but after five and a half hours of steady traffic, they actually sold out.
At a recent party to kick off the rebuilding efforts, the duo sold the last of their stock, around 200 bottles. The bottles that were in the building at the time of the fire were shrink-wrapped. They operated from the rear part of the building, which was left unscathed, for the event.
Our Home, a local charity that supports veterans, has set up a GoFundMe to help them rebuild at https://bit.ly/32l6Vuj.
Sims said with all the work they’ve done to support vets, it’s special that they’re being supported in return.
The duo had planned a huge event for July 10 at the Chennault Aviation & Military Museum in Monroe, to honor the 100th birthday of John Howard McCarter Jr., a World War II veteran who was a turret gunner on a B-24 called ” Battle Tired.”
Myers and Sims referred to McCarter as one of the last remaining Selman field airmen in the area.
They had planned a special “Battle Weary” mead for the event and invited local and state officials and held special exhibits and honor guards. The fire changes the way they will brew mead but does not stop their plans.
After the fire, the Viking Alchemist Meadery from Smyrna, Georgia contacted them and offered his support, so that the Sims would fly out and prepare the event mix there.
Myers said they were thrilled to find McCarter’s airplane nose art and incorporate it into the label.
The Sims said they needed to make some slight tweaks.
“We had to put clothes on the pin-up,” he laughed.