Historical trivia note:

In England, mead was produced mainly in monasteries. Monks kept most of the bees in England--not for honey but for wax, which they used to make the many candles that were an important part of medieval worship (candles were commonly given as donations to churches in the Middle Ages in lieu of money). The demand for honey as food was apparently limited, but the monks discovered that by converting the honey to mead, they could make a profitable product.

When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries after the English Reformation, the hives kept in the monasteries were largely destroyed and so the amount of mead produced in England declined greatly. At the same time, brewers began adding hops to ale, producing beer. Hops acts as a preservative to ale and so it became possible to transport beer across longer distances. As a result, beer became the dominant alcoholic beverage of the English.