As Washington state natives who grew up a short ferry ride away from the Canadian border, the Bishops—Nancy and Steve (known as Bear to his friends)—were introduced to cider by their neighbors to the North.
In 2001 they toured the cider countries of Europe to learn more about traditional production methods and discovered that many cideries were producing on a small scale, driven by family orchards. This was perfectly suited to what they had in mind.
And they learned something else, equally important: That true cider apples were key to producing the cider they loved to drink. A hard cider rich in tannins, lively acids, and aromatics that, when properly fermented, allowed the flavor of the fruit to shine through.
After studying with renowned UK cider producer and educator Peter Mitchell, Nancy and Bear invested in 900 French and English cider apple trees and laid down their first orchard acreage near the town of Port Townsend, just opposite Seattle on the other side of the Puget Sound. The Bishops committed to organic orcharding practices at the outset, and in 2007 Alpenfire became the first certified organic cidery in the Pacific Northwest.