By 2013, Ben Kishbaugh and Troy Lehman had grown tired of the Detroit auto industry where they were working together. They wanted to create their own business that focused on top-tier customer service and meeting the needs of their customers, both wholesale and retail. And they each had dreams of owning and operating a farm.
Leaving the Midwest, the pair entered the “brew world,” starting with home brew and eventually creating Big Hill Ciderworks where they make cider from their dream farms in the apple country of Adams County near where they each grew up.
“It was a hope and a dream to make it all work, and it’s come together so far,” said Kishbaugh. “The soil, the micro-climates, all of that goes into the quality of the fruit that comes out of it. Really, this is such a great fruit-growing region.”
Big Hill Ciderworks uses all natural flavoring without any use of added sugar or sweeteners. The partners each grow their fruit on their own farms, and use this fruit for their business, where they process the fruit and sell it as hard cider.
Kishbaugh and Lehman taught themselves to grow fruit, operate a farm, and make cider. When discussing the learning process, Kishbaugh explains,“We learn every day.” Their methods include a lot of reading, experiments, and trial and error.
They also have learned a lot from the local community of farmers and growers. Kishbaugh says, “We’ve been very fortunate. A lot of the growers around us are willing to help us out and give us an opinion if we ask for it.” They continuously learn, as the fruit changes with the climate and the environment from year-to-year.
Big Hill Ciderworks has recently expanded to include a taphouse on the Gardners, PA farm at 388 Georgetown Road. The partners have created an outdoor space that follows all current COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. They want their guests to experience the beauty of the orchards in space where the fruit is grown.
Business hours are Fridays from 4:00 p.m to 10:00 p.m, Saturdays from noon to 10::00 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 7:00 p.m.
There is currently limited outdoor seating, but there are food trucks and guests are also encouraged to bring their own food and snacks. In the future, they hope to grow their business to include a fruit stand, bar service, a tasting room, and including a “pick-your-own” area on the farm.
Although the pandemic has shifted how they can operate their taphouse, Kishbaugh and Lehman hope to keep expanding and growing their business.
Big Hill cider can also be found around Pennsylvania and at two locations in Washington D.C.