Artifice Ales & Mead.jpg

Located at 55 N. Main St. (Route 72), Artifice Ales & Mead will occupy part of the former Bickel’s Snack Foods complex being redeveloped into REO Manheim Marketplace. 

Artifice Ales & Mead, a gastropub and brewery, open this week at 55 N. Manheim St. in Manheim. It’s part of the REO Manheim Marketplace.

Artifice Ales & Mead is founded by the partners who launched Meduseld Meadery in Lancaster in 2017. Willie Wrede is the mead maker and brewer for Meduseld/Artifice and managing partner of Artifice. His wife Julie Wrede, serves as CFO and also handles human resources. Alfonso and Jeanette Soler, and Duro Rajkovic are founding members as well and helped build Meduseld Meadery from concept to launch.

“Repurposing the building was a no-brainer. The high ceilings, concrete floors, dock doors and proximity to surrounding neighborhoods, and high visibility along Route 72 were all great reasons to choose this property for our location,” Wrede said, “We love Manheim; we live here. We are confident this will be another win for our town that is long overdue.”

The partners transformed a 4,630-square-foot warehouse area into a large taproom area for 60 to 70 patrons, a commercial kitchen, bathrooms, and a brewery production and storage area. Seating is a mix of tables and chairs and booths. Seating can also be found along the large mahogany bar.

There are wood accents throughout, and the fireplace mantle is repurposed barn wood that’s about a century old. The wood around the entrance door and the vertical paneling was crafted using Shou sugi ban, an ancient Japanese technique for preserving wood. A hand-drawn Artifice logo by Amber Martin is displayed above the bar. “The atmosphere is a modern twist on an English pub,” Wrede said, “I’m inspired by English pubs. They serve their local area with more than food and drink; they’re a place where people gather and exchange news.”

Artifice Ales & Mead also boasts an outdoor patio with tables, and eventually, the surrounding lawn will also have tables. An addition that will house event space, a bar seating area for about 30, and two ax single lane single target throwing pits is under construction. Wrede said the ax pits will have a coach, who not only provides ax throwing instruction but will also ensure the area’s safety. He said children are welcome to throw if they are accompanied by and with permission from a parent or guardian. “The ax pits at Artifice are fun-oriented rather than competitive; we’ll make our own targetstyle rather than strictly follow IATF (International Ax Throwing Federation) target rules,” he explained.

He described the gastropub’s menu as an “international influenced menu”. It will feature hand-helds and appetizers; some traditional bar items with a twist. “We focus on the art of pairing great food with great beverages,” Wrede said.

He added that all production will be moved to the Manheim site. Beer and mead, and braggot (a drink that combines both) will be made in Manheim for both Artifice and Meduseld Meadery in Lancaster. Steven Becker will share the duties of brewer and mead maker.

Wrede said initially there will be nine beers and four meads. “We’ll produce a few different styles of beer; styles that will fit with mead. We’ll offer more beer and a few meads at Artifice, and at Meduseld, we’ll offer more meads and a few beers. Since we brew in small batches, we’ll be able to constantly offer new beer and mead,” he said.

Artifice hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Further information is available at www. and on Artifice’s Facebook page.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at

What to Read Next