Mead - the drink of gods!


Since mead is becoming popular in movies (such as Thor and The Hobbit), and even as an emerging industry in real life ... what better example to use for some SAS graphs! And who knows - this might even turn you into a mead drinker!

But first, to get you in the mood for looking at mead data, here's a picture of a ~100 year old mead advertising poster that my friend Erik has. Thanks for sharing this cool picture, Erik!

Let's start our data analysis at the beginning. Where do they make mead, and how many meaderies are located in various parts of the US? The and websites have this kind of information, but it is basically in long text lists. So I imported this data into SAS and plotted it on a map, which made it much easier to grok:

Click the map (above) to see the interactive version. You can then hover your mouse over the markers to see each meadery name and city. Some meaderies are very close to each other, and therefore some markers are obscured - you can look in the table below the map to see them in that case.  The table has two links - one shows you a map with the meadery, and the other launches a Google search for the meadery. The closest meadery to SAS headquarters is Starrlight Mead, in Pittsboro, NC (which also happens to be my favorite mead!)

I recently got to talk to the owner of Starrlight Mead, and learn a little about mead-making. It takes a lot of sugar to make alcohol, and when it comes to mead, that sugar is in the form of honey ... tons of honey! Which made me start wondering about the honey producers/suppliers. Where are they located? How many of them are there? I found a list of suppliers on the website, imported it into SAS, and plotted it on a map (re-using the same code I had plotted the meaderies with).

And, having "The Power of SAS" in my hands, I couldn't help but take it one step further - I wrote a SAS job that combined the two maps, and allowed me to show all the honey suppliers that were within 'n' miles of any given meadery. To demonstrate, here's a map showing the honey suppliers within 350 miles of Starrlight Mead (as before, click to see the interactive map).


Pretty cool, eh?!? And guess what - you could reuse this code to create similar maps for your industry! Showing suppliers within 'n' miles of manufacturers, showing manufacturers within 'n' miles of retail stores, showing retail stores within 'n' miles of customers (or vice versa).

Here are links to the SAS code for the meadery map, the honey map, and the closest suppliers map. Now go out and get some mead to celebrate!


What's your favorite mead?  (feel free to leave a comment)



About Author

Robert Allison

The Graph Guy!

Robert has worked at SAS for over a quarter century, and his specialty is customizing graphs and maps - adding those little extra touches that help them answer your questions at a glance. His educational background is in Computer Science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from NC State University.

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  1. Just came across your way cool project while looking through some mead related links. Would love to know more about the coding aspect.

    If you do land up going beyond the US do look us up.

  2. Cool Map. Thanks for the work. FYI, Just a little house cleaning to avoid confusion. There is only one Mead producer in Montana, Hidden Legend Winery. Merry Moon never was, Lolo Peak made fruit wines, some with honey but never made a Mead and has been closed for 4 years. Trapper Creek was the previous name of Hidden Legend before a trademark dispute forced a name change in 2006.
    Cheers, Ken, meadmaker

    • Robert Allison
      Robert Allison on

      Thanks for the updates - I'll see about updating my map.

      I would encourage you to also contact the 2 websites where I obtained the data, and see if you can get them to update their master-lists (it's always best to clean the data at the original source!)

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