When Crystie Kisler ’92 learned that the cidery she co-owns and operates in Washington State had made Condé Nast Traveler’s 2021 Gold List of the Best Bars and Restaurants in the World, she was both amazed and somewhat amused.
Finnriver Farm & Cidery is located in a quiet corner of the Olympic Peninsula, where you’ll find more farmers and fishermen than jetsetters and gourmands. “We don’t know too many people around here who would recognize that honor,” Kisler says with a smile. “People around here said, ‘Congrats. Now what is that list?’ ”
An English major who cultivated a taste for country living while residing in Farm House, Kisler founded Finnriver with her husband, Keith, and a friend in 2008. Their initial idea was to create a self-sustaining, independent farm centered on grains, vegetables, and other crops — with a bit of environmental education and sustainable agriculture tossed in for visitors. When a bottle of homemade cider got the locals talking, however, the Kislers realized they had “a magic potion” that could financially fuel their multipronged agenda. “We’re trying to prove you can do ecosystem care, rural economic development, and sustainable agriculture all together,” Kisler says.
Asked whether or not she and her co-owners anticipate a surge in customer demand in the wake of Condé Nast’s praise, Kisler can’t help but chuckle. “I suspect people gazing at that list are more interested in Cairo and Paris.”