Our Story | History of Smoking | Quality | Our Standards

Our Story

Alan Spence came to the shores of America in 1989 and founded Spence & Co., Ltd. He came with a lifetime of experience as a salmon smoker and an enduring love of the ocean fostered by the years as a fishing boat captain. This has given him a unique perspective as both fisherman and processor. Together with his expertise and the very latest high-tech equipment, Spence & Co., Ltd. has developed a reputation for high quality and consistency that has ensured an expanding and well-regarded name in the smoked fish industry in the USA and Europe. Spence & Co., Ltd. specializes in the production of smoked salmon and seafood, created in the Scottish tradition. We begin with fresh Atlantic salmon, farm raised to ensure the continuation of wild stocks. The fish is then masterfully smoked over oakwood, as our ancestors did along the rivers and estuaries of Scotland.

Operating out of our custom-designed and built smokehouse, Spence & Co., Ltd. has brought this age-old tradition into the 21st Century. Our state of the art smokers, imported from the UK, meet our twin goals of efficiency and authenticity. Our plant, conveniently located South of Boston, has excellent access to major highways, Boston's Logan International Airport and the seaport.

Satisfied customers know that each taste of our premium products demonstrates how Spence & Co., Ltd. succeeds in honouring the past and preserving tradition with contemporary flavour and modern service.

Our Story | History of Smoking | Quality | Our Standards

History of Smoking

By Alan Spence

The smoking of fish has been a means of preserving the seasonal abundance of certain types of fish since the Neolithic times. At the sites of what are still the best fishing areas on Scottish rivers there is evidence that as early as 200 years B.C., fish were caught and dried over fires. The absence of bones suggests that the catch would then be carried off for the long winter months. This would sustain life until the spring runs of salmon returned.

The Scottish climate is such that the more customary air-drying could not be relied upon - hence the use of fires. It is questionable if the benefits of smoke were understood and flavour was of consideration. As settlements became more established, the fish would be hung from the roof beams and would have remained there continuously drying and smoking until consumed, sometimes many months later. Species of fish which were not migratory and available fresh, even in winter, such as trout, would not have been preserved in this manner. This would also apply to shellfish.

This basic method remained the primary means of preserving salmon until the 15th century. At this time, a substantial trade to Europe and the Mediterranean developed, with small boats carrying thousands of barrels of pickled and salted salmon, and returning with barrels of wine, salt, olives and so on.

However, the custom of smoking continued. The last run of salmon in September and October used were termed back-end fish (or last run).  These fish tended to have lower oil content than the summer and spring runs.


Smokers would not have indulged themselves by adding spices, sugars or whiskey. The wood used would be whatever was burning in the fire. They were not concerned with flavour. As the salmon could be caught along the entire river system and with many rivers in Scotland, this process was widely used throughout the countryside. Salmon was in such seasonal abundance that only an inconsiderate Lord or Master of the House would have obliged his servants or workers to consume salmon more than four times a week. However, with smoking, it could be an invaluable source of nutrition and significant in an otherwise deficient diet.

The advent of refrigeration meant that salmon could now become much more of a delicacy by reducing the need for very high levels of salt, and what would now be considered excessive drying. This coincided with drastically improved transportation systems, which allowed this glorious product to be available to a much wider market.  This brought about the virtual rebirth of the Scottish Smoked Salmon industry and the demise of the salting in barrels.

It is interesting that in areas where air-drying could be accomplished without the use of fires and where salmon were found in abundance, a similar product was produced, such as Nova Lox. Spence and Co., Ltd. employ the same basic principles to smoking salmon. However, with the advent of refrigeration and a year-round supply of salmon, we are now permitted to smoke and salt with the ultimate taste in mind. 

We invite you to taste the difference.

Our Story | History of Smoking | Quality | Our Standards


Our Quality

Spence & Co. Ltd. sources only the finest raw materials to produce our smoked salmon and seafood.

Our Quality


Our Fish

Our fish is sourced globally. Suppliers go through a rigorous screening process to ensure they meet the most exacting quality and food safety standards.

Farm raised salmon come from Scotland, Norway, Canada and Chile. Our products are produced from fresh fish. We add no preservatives or artificial colors or flavourings to our fish.

There are no artificial colors added to farmed salmon. They are fed a diet containing carotene, as this is essential to development of the immune system in the young fish, as well as helping to develop flesh tone. Carotene is in wild salmon as well as being in multi-vitamins for people.

Our wild smoked fish  are only sourced from well managed  sustainable fisheries.

Our Story | History of Smoking | Quality | Our Standards

Our Standards

Our HACCP controls, GMP and rigorous sanitation systems are utilized to guarantee the highest standards in food safety.
Our products are constantly tested for safety and compliance by both Spence & Co. and third party auditors.
Our facility meets the exacting standards
Of the FDA HACCP requirements, and is GMP and Kosher Certified.