Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Laurantha's Excellent Mead

One of my characters in D&D is Laurantha the Unbeautiful, an Elf with too much of the haughty cruelty of the Elves in her face (Elves being soulless and non-empathic in my games), and possessed of too little of their supernatural beauty (she rolled like a 7 Charisma to start with). Over the course of her adventures she has reached level 5 (don't scoff! that requires 32,000+ xp! and she's at 55,000 or so ... and Eleithyia, my 8th level character in 5E, has far less xp than 5th level Laurantha ...). Well, sometime during carousing (on a different table than Jeff Rients' table--the referee liked the carousing idea, but snagged some other table from online, the contents of which I am ignorant), Laurantha "won" ownership of the local inn/tavern, the Dwarf's Beard Inn (think Han Solo "winning" the Millennium Falcon from Lando over poker). So Laurantha has an inn; so I had her sit out from adventuring for a while to develop two new spells, one allowing her to commune well with bees, the other to make really efficacious alcohol that gets a person drunk real fast, with the intent of beekeeping and making some really smashing mead (Laurantha's Efficacious Bee Charm, and Laurantha's Excellent Enchanted Mead).

So here are some rough calculations as to what that mead might cost to make, and what it might sell for (before she enchants it ...)

Following the "Joe's Ancient Orange Mead" recipe, 3.5# honey will produce 1 gallon of mead; 1 gallon of mead can be split into 8 "pints" of wine. One gallon will ferment to drinkability in 2 months (minimum), and get better (sell for more!) as it ages.

A pint of ale in 1E AD&D is 1 sp; I can buy a pint of beer at a local pub for $5, so let's say $1 : 1/5 sp : 2 cp. (a pint of mead sells for 5 sp; but given that you might spend $5 on a glass of wine at a pub, a glass which is something like a quarter or third of a pint, that's not unreasonable)

Google says a pound of honey right now costs about $6 (rounding up); so that's 12 cp per pound of honey. So to make a gallon of mead I need to pay 42 cp (or 4 silver, 2 copper).

At 1E prices, I could sell the gallon by the pint for 5 sp per pint, or 40 silver per gallon. Some chunk of that should be taxed away by local municipalities, plus I haven't added in the actual cost for barrels, bottles, and rent for a location to do this. Hopefully, keeping my own bees should reduce the overhead costs ... All in all, though, this should produce some kind of profit.

Costwise, a 10 gallon oak barrel could cost about 4 gold, per a quick Google search ("what does a 10 gallon oak barrel cost" which led to maybe $200, which reduces to 4 gold by my crunching). I assume I'll be able to reuse it, at least a few times, to reduce cost a bit (the ACKS book has a 20 gallon barrel costing a mere 3 sp, less than a 10th the Google search ... if I assume 2 gp per barrel, profits come out even better).

Let's do more abstraction. A 2015 survey in Bee Culture (maybe a good source?) suggests that the average yearly yield of honey per colony of bees was 58.9 pounds, or basically 60 pounds. Given that Laurantha has a spell that charms bees, but that apiary in a D&D world is not necessarily as technically efficient as now, let's assume something like half that yield (30 pounds) plus 30% for the effectiveness of the spell (40 pounds). Or, actually, to make the math really easy, let's just say average 35 pounds of honey per year. That means (on the very low end!) for every hive Laurantha can make 10 gallons of mead ... which means I need a lot of freaking hives to make "free" mead! Still, every hive is about 5 silver less to make about 400 more silver...

This abstract however suggests that average yield per year is 75-125 pounds of honey, or 200+ for "good" beekeepers. Also, that the cost for two hives for the first year is approximately $900, or 1800 cp, which is to say 18 gp. Man, that's cheap for an adventurer! The initial cost will take two months to make money, and given 10 to 30 years of productivity, that would be a minimum of 400 gold for ten years (not counting the initial start-up cost) :: a minimum of 35 pounds honey per year : 10 gallons mead per year : 400 silver per year. Double 35 pounds of honey to 70 pounds (still well below the mean suggested by the abstract) and double the profits.

1 yield = 35 pounds of honey
1 pound honey costs 12 cp (if bought)
1 hive = 0-4 yields (per year ... 0 would be a year where you don't harvest so the hive survives)
2 hives cost 18 gp (or 1 hive costs 10 gp--doubling allows redundancy between hives)
35 pounds of honey = 10 gallons mead (in two months)
 10 gallons mead cost 420 cp / 42 sp / 4 gp + 2 sp (if from bought honey)
OR 1 hive = 0-40 gallons mead (if honey is harvested)
1 ten gallon barrel costs 2 gp
1 gallon = 8 pints
1 pint mead sells for 5 sp = 1 gallon mead sells for 40 sp = 10 gallons mead sell for 40 gp (400 sp)
1 yield of honey sells for 40 gp as mead

Bought Honey monthly profit per 10 gallons = -4.2(honey) & -20(barrel) & 400(mead) = 375.8 silver (not including taxes, fees, etc. for the right to sell alcohol ...)
Harvested Honey monthly profit per 10 gallons ... is a function involving the the possible yield and the reducing cost of reusing barrels (actually, the bought honey should include a "barrel reuse function" too) but I don't remember how to use functions.

But I can still drop an "Enchanted Mead" spell on it to make the mead make you drunk faster and presumably increase price! Haha!

No comments:

Post a Comment