With more than 50 craft breweries in Dallas-Fort Worth, North Texans needn't look far for a local beer. But those looking for a locally-made cider have just one place to turn to: Bishop Cider Co. in Dallas.
That changes next year, however, when a new cidery opens in Fort Worth.
Locust Cider is the brainchild of brothers Jason and Patrick Spears, who in 2015 made the leap from garage-brewing hobbyists to professional cider-makers. Their company, which is based in Woodinville, Wash., will open a second location in Fort Worth's Near Southside neighborhood close to Rahr and Sons Brewing Co. It's expected to open in March 2018.
How did Locust Cider settle on Fort Worth?
Both Spears brothers were born in Cowtown, Patrick tells me. Though the family later moved out of state, they feel deeply connected to their roots here.
"Once we started the company, we had an idea of what we wanted to do -- distribute in Texas or even open a taproom," Patrick says. "Our growth right now, at this stage, has allowed us to get here sooner rather than later."
Locust Cider currently makes eight different ciders that come in cans, bombers and on draft. Its flagship brew is the Original Dry, a 6-percent ABV cider with citrus and pineapple notes. Its most popular, though, is the Dark Cherry cider, which is "still dry with just enough tartness," Patrick says.
The company began distributing to Texas in 2016 and is on pace to produce 200,000 gallons (or about 6,300 barrels) in 2017, according to Jason. (Locust Cider is also available in Oregon, Idaho, California, Florida, Illinois and Washington.)
The space in Fort Worth will inhabit 3,000 square feet at 710 S. Main St., which will be divided into a production facility and taproom. Patrick, who recently moved back to Texas to oversee operations at the new location, says once up and running, Locust Cider will brew several recipes unique to Fort Worth using ingredients sourced from the Lone Star State. Think peaches, grapefruits, and local apples -- fruits fitting to celebrate the local culture, he says.
"One thing I think Fort Worth needs right now is a cidery," Particks says, "and we're excited to be the first one."
Drinking for a cause
A portion of Locust Cider's sales benefit the Hydrocephalus Association, an organization that researches its namesake condition, which causes an excessive accumulation of fluid around the brain, according to the website. It's a cause dear to the Spears' heart -- Jason's daughter, Lucy, currently suffers from hydrocephalus. Learn more here.