Ryan Michael Ludwig, PhD

Ryan Michael Ludwig, PhD | Founder, Meadmaker | Rebel Hive Meadery

An accomplished educator-turned-businessman and entrepreneur, Ryan Michael Ludwig, PhD combined his passions for chemistry and home-brewing to turn a vision into a reality: Rebel Hive Meadery, which he started in 2017, is a Reading, Pennsylvania-based establishment that serves to bring delicious, honey-fermented drinks to the market. His experimentation with mead, “the oldest drink in human history,” and its many recipes and flavors began in graduate school, Lehigh University, where he ultimately earned a Doctor of Philosophy in chemistry in 2015. He was in search of a hobby outside of studying and going to class, and he came across the university’s Homebrewing Club, through which he started dabbling in various ferments and not only entered but won best in show at a mead-only competition. Afterward, a judge approached him and asked if he was selling his concoction commercially as it was “one of the best he had ever tried.”

But before he opened Rebel Hive Meadery officially in 2017, Dr. Ludwig played with recipes as a dedicated student of chemistry, first at DeSales University and then Lehigh; he then advanced to teaching the subject, serving as an adjunct instructor at DeSales and Albright College. From 2015 to 2016, he was an adjunct professor at DeSales and Moravian College. In the midst of running the meadery, he excelled as a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Albright College from 2016 to 2022. In addition, his expertise for the subject of chemistry has led to the publication of such written works as “Chemical Reactions Triggered Using Electrons Photodetached from ‘Clean’ Distributions of Anions Deposited in Cryogenic Matrices via Counterion Co-deposition,” which he co-authored for the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters in 2014, and “Formation of ionic complexes in cryogenic matrices: A case study using co-deposition of Cu- with rare gas cations in solid argon,” which he co-authored for the Journal of Chemical Physics in 2013.

As a testament to his success in the field, he earned a Sigma Xi grant in aid of research in 2012, a Dean’s Summer Award at Lehigh, a Richard A. Schaeffer Memorial Fund Scholarship in 2013, and a fellowship within the Chemistry Department at Lehigh in 2014.

Dr. Ludwig considers starting Rebel Hive to be the highlight of his career, and looking toward the future, he strives to see the business grow and employ more people. “From the start, our meadery was reveling against the standard drinks on the market,” he wrote. He remains connected to his field as a member of the American Chemical Society and American Mead Makers Association.