drink of choice. The Volstead Act of 1919— a precursor to the 18th
Amendment, which outlawed the sale, manufacture and transport
of liquor—was the final nail in the coffin for some cider mills and
distilleries in New Jersey and beyond.
Ralston Cider Mill soldiered on, with a little ingenuity from
Laughlin. “He figured out a way to hide a very big still so he could
operate during Prohibition,” says Nadaskay. The mill’s shed, which
today offers an informational video for visitors, cloaked the illegal
still behind a sliding panel, its smokestack disguised as the shed’s
furnace. False floors masked barrels (Continued on page 80)
truckloads of apples
(above) for pressing
at Ralston Cider Mill.
Inside, the mill is a
maze of gears and
pulleys (top right).
The apples are
chopped into slop
called a pomace and
spread with rakes
across a cloth-lined
hopper (left). The
cloth is folded over
the pomace to create a "cheese." The
cheeses are stacked
five high (bottom
left) and pressed to
release their juice.
Fornaro Jr. savors
a jug of precious
ago at the mill.