After inheriting the family farmstead in Winchester, NH, Robert Patton-Spruill and wife Patti Moreno, both media professionals from Boston, decided to try their hand at something new: Moonshine.
“It started as a small hobby,” Spruill explains. “We were originally going to make 300 bottles a year to pay the taxes, but then we loved it and it got out of control. When the government said yes to a distillery but wanted us to build a new barn, we decided it was cheaper to buy a building in downtown Winchester at the corner of two highways.”
Using native ingredients such as apples from their orchard, berries from the profusion of juniper bushes on the farm, or fruit from a neighbor’s grapevines that had “gone feral”, Spruill and Moreno enjoy ingredient-based experimentation. “I learned how to make moonshine as a teenager using my grandfather’s North Carolina recipe,” Spruill chuckles. “You know how it goes…once you learn to cook Italian, you want to learn to cook Greek.”
Visitors to the New England Sweetwater Distillery will discover a tasting room and distillery where bottles of moonshine, whisky, rum, and vodka can be purchased. The couple has plans to open a restaurant and a winery in adjacent buildings.
Spruill, who works a few days a week at Emerson College teaching film and television direction, and Moreno, a television producer, don’t have plans to leave the area. “I fell in love with the Monadnock region in 1998 after making a movie in Dublin,” Spruill shares. “A lot of our friends summer here. The people I love happen to hang out here, too. I’ve had the best meals of my life in this region, and I love what Patti and I have been able to create through the distillery. How could it get any better than that?”
New England Sweetwater Farm & Distillery
136 Main Street | Winchester, NH