With a whole lot of TLC, Locust Cider transforms seemingly humble “cull” eating apples (those that would otherwise be rejected due to surface imperfections but whose juice still packs a punch) into highly sessionable cans. Jason Spears, co-founder of the Woodinville, Washington, cidery (along with his brother, Patrick), is at the helm of the small yet ass-kicking team behind each resulting batch.
“If there was one thing I could highlight about our company, it’s our team and our team’s values,” Spears says. “Our entire company consists of 11 people, and for us to do what we do takes serious hustle and toughness. Also, there aren’t nearly enough women in this business. I think Chelsea should start to get some attention in this industry for leading the way.”
Chelsea Luper, Locust’s head cidermaker and a Navy veteran, is the fearless mind cranking out creative and crushable blends made from Washington-grown varieties. And, when it comes to brand values, Locust’s primary cause is near and dear. A portion of the proceeds from each purchase funds hydrocephalus research, as Spears is devoted to supporting his young daughter through her own treatment of the brain condition.
What can we expect to see (and drink) from Locust in the near future? What TV series is Spears currently catching up on after a long day at the cidery? We found out.
1) Which of your own current offerings are you digging the most?
We are rolling out Honey Pear in cans in May. It’s an awesome pear cider sweetened with natural wildflower honey. The honey really carries through. It’s going to be a killer summer cider.
2) Any cidermaking pipe dreams you’re dying to make a reality?
We have just started our barreling program, which has been a big dream. We’ve got some really exciting things coming from that. Otherwise, the ultimate dream would be to have 1,000 acres of bittersweet apples growing so we could make an affordable bittersweet cider in cans.
3) What non-cider beverage is in your glass most these days? What is your favorite way to enjoy it and where?
Oh man, there are so many great local breweries… We’re so lucky. I love Postdoc, Chainline, Ravenna is doing cool stuff, and our neighbor, Dirty Bucket, of course. I have to be honest though, I’m a parent and running a startup company, plus I have hops allergies, so at the end of a long day my palate and my brain are toast. Once the kids are in bed, I’m on the sofa with my wife watching “Mr. Robot” — I’m always late to the game — and drinking either whiskey, I’m into Japanese whiskeys right now, or a crappy Coors Original, because it’s one of the only beers that doesn’t make me break out into a rash. I can’t taste anything by this point in the day. Please don’t hate me Washington brewers, I drink a lot of your beer, I promise.
4) Favorite song, album or artist to jam out to while throwing a few down the hatch?
Creeper Lagoon, “Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday,” one of the most under-recognized albums ever, is always a go-to for me. For more focused work, it’s Deadmau5 on continuous loop.