Just over one year ago, two brothers from Texas made their cider debut in Woodinville, Washington, wine country. Tucked into what is known as the Warehouse District between a surplus of wineries and breweries, Locust Cider proves a palatable asset to the city’s diverse tasting scene.
Releasing an average of two new cider flavors every three weeks using apples from Washington and Oregon, Locust Cider cannot be accused of playing it safe. “We fall into a more modern category, close to the craft beer scene,” says Jason Spears, co-owner and cidermaker. “Locust is about drinkability.”
A tight-knit crew, the group at Locust works together to create innovative ciders that both beer-loving and wine-centric locals and tourists can’t set down. “The summer weekends here are great,” says Spears of the cidery’s prime location, where the three types of beverages share one parking lot. “Everything’s all in one place.”
He may be referring to the neighborhood’s beer, wine and cider accessibility, but even under just one roof, variety can be found. The unique Thai Ginger is one of the cidery’s most popular flavors, poured year round along with more familiar sippers Original Dry, Dark Cherry and Sweet Aged Apple. In the tasting room, guests can also try new flavors such as Red Wine Barrel – a celebratory sipper for the cidery’s recent one-year anniversary – Moroccan Mint Green Tea Infused and Pina Picante, while hitting the shuffle board, of course.
Equally significant is the cidery’s devotion to not only make a difference in the fermented apple world but to make a difference in the medical world. Just before construction began on the cidery in 2015, Spears’ daughter, Lucy, was born with Hydrocephalus, a condition causing fluid to build up inside the brain. Support flowed out as abundantly as the cider – while Spears spent time with his daughter through multiple emergency surgeries, his brother and co-owner Patrick Spears took on the duties of overseeing and managing the growing business.
Due to the rarity of Hydrocephalus, research and treatment for the condition in the Northwest have been minimal. “Our goal is to try to raise enough money to improve the technology,” says Spears. To tackle this goal, 2-5 percent of Locust’s sales is donated to the Hydrocephalus fund. This includes all packaged products, canned and bottled. Plus, when you join the Locust Cider Club, $25 is immediately donated to the association – yet another reason to become a part of the flavorful goodness, and downright good vibes, provided by Locust.
Additionally, Locust cider reaches the taste buds of many others at various bars and breweries throughout Washington, Oregon and in the brothers’ home state of Texas, gradually gaining a loyal group of patrons throughout the country. “We want to be in places that are important to us,” explains Spears.
With a year of accomplishments and newfound cider lovers at their door, Locust Cider has no problem identifying what’s important in life, one sip at a time.