Meet the Team Behind Kinsale Mead

Kinsale Mead Co was founded by us, Kate and Denis Dempsey in 2016 to rediscover the ancient art of mead making and to create a world-class range of light and refreshing drinks.

Hand-crafted with care and passion.

We source the best natural ingredients and finish our meads off-dry and wine-strength. We lovingly hand-craft each batch sustainably, with care and passion.

We make our meads at the meadery in Kinsale, the first in Ireland in 200 years. The town holds a special place in our hearts as it was where we were married many years ago.

The Start

In August 2016 we took a visiting friend of ours up to the Hill of Tara and we realised we were standing on the footprint of the Great Mead Hall of Tara. That was when we decided we would start the journey to opening our own business and Ireland’s first new meadery in 200 years.

We did a lot of research, tried a lot of meads from Europe and America and read loads of books, modern as well as historical. There is an active and supportive global mead community who are always willing to share their experiences, things to try and things not to do! Denis took a mead making course at UCD Davis in California. And Kate trained as a BJCP certified Mead judge, possibly the only one in Ireland.

We ran lots of small batches at home trying different honeys, different yeasts and different fruit, spice and herb combinations. Then we asked friends, neighbours and family to try them out, tweaking the recipes as we went! One thing that was important to us was how the mead paired with food and to use local suppliers where we could.


Our mead has won a wonderful array of awards including Gold and Bronze medals at The International Mazer Cup which is like the Olympics of Mead, a huge accolade as it is judged by our meadmaking peers and runs every year in Colorado. We were thrilled with our Irish awards, Gold and Silver at Blas na hEireann, Gold at the Free From Food Awards as our mead is naturally gluten free. Then we won the prestigious, 2 star (Outstanding) Great Taste Award, a UK based competition with literally thousands of entries of a very high standard, and also gold and silver at the European Mead Cup – Mead Madness.

In 2021, we were awarded the Drink of the Year by the Irish Food Writers’ Guild and in 2022 we won Drink of the Year from the Irish Made Awards, two medals at the European Mead Madness Cup and two at the International Mazer Cup.

In 2023 we won Supervalu Food Academy product of the year at the Guaranteed Irish Awards, a silver medal at the European Mead Madness Cup, another 1 and 2 star (Outstanding) Great Taste award and another gold Blas na hEireann. As well as West Cork best Tourism Experience.

In 2024 we won 2 Gold medals and a silver at the European Mead Madness Cup.

We are very proud to be able to say that we are making some of the best meads in the world.

Lots of Help!
Taking a sample from the tank
Helpers at Kinsale Mead
Vigo Engineers Install
Sophie at Ballymaloe festival
Belle Photographing
Caroline at Kinsale Mead stand at Bloom
Padraig and Sophie

Thanks for the Support

We would like to acknowledge the support from various organisations including time, funding, advice and knowledge. Particularly Bord Bia – the Irish Food board. Failte Ireland – Discover Ireland and Tourism Ireland including Pure Cork, Guaranteed Irish and our Local Enterprise Office in Cork.


Kinsale (Cionn tSáile, meaning “Tide Head”) is a beautiful historic seaside town in West Cork situated in a safe anchorage where the Bandon river flows into the Atlantic Ocean. It is known today for its historic streetscape, brightly coloured buildings, many fabulous cafes, gastropubs and restaurants, bookshops, yachting, fishing and world glass golf.

Kinsale Mead is made, matured and bottled in the heart of Kinsale. We live and work in this seaside town, known for its great food scene in Ireland. We’ve worked with many of the local bars and restaurants as well as the local brewery and cidery, enlivening the foodie scene and enhancing the image of Kinsale as a great destination for home and foreign visitors. Kinsale won foodie town of the year in 2018 and Enterprise Town of the Year in 2020 in part because of its diverse restaurant, food and drinks community.