Steve Wood & Louisa Spencer

Farnum Hill Ciders

The Lebanon, New Hampshire orchard that now produces Farnum Hill Ciders dates from 1963. In the 1980’s, with New England’s classic McIntosh and Cortland apples losing market share, owners Stephen Wood and Louisa Spencer decided to plant cider apple varieties. Strange-tasting cider apples are essential to fermenting excellent ciders, much as strange-tasting wine grapes are key to fermenting excellent wines.

By 2000, Farnum Hill Ciders was producing and marketing dry, complex orchard ciders from English, French & American cider varieties. These food-friendly ciders draw their character from terroir: a particular climate and rocky loam slopes overlooking the Connecticut River. Farnum Hill’s early bottlings quickly drew attention from the food press, but it took some years for dry orchard ciders to attract Amercan consumers! Meanwhile, many orchards and cider-makers across the U.S. have followed Farnum Hill’s example, re-growing an American beverage category that nearly vanished during Prohibition.