By: Courtney Dabney
by Amanda Smiley
Locust Cider, which crafts and serves original hard ciders, will open its first Texas location in the heart of downtown Fort Worth, Oct. 24.
Locust Cider has served traditional and specialty ciders for nearly three years and the new location on 710 S. Main will serve as both a cidery and taproom where guests can see the cider fermentation process while simultaneously enjoying the product.
Though its founders, Patrick and Jason Spears, originally hail from Fort Worth, Locust calls Washington home, and this will be the company’s first taproom outside of the Emerald State.
While the company has built a positive reputation for its delicious ciders, it’s also received praise for its high-minded philanthropic efforts around hydrocephalus research and awareness.
In the three years since Locust Cider first opened its doors, the company has donated almost $30,000 to the Hydrocephalus Association, which is dedicated to finding a cure for the disease.
One month after the company’s opening, Jason’s daughter, Lucy, was born with the disease, which involves fluid and pressure buildup in the brain and often entails a lifetime of doctors visits and surgeries.
“We opened up [the company] and then right after I spent three months in the hospital,” Jason says. “It was horrible. Once I learned about the condition, I just decided that we have to use our business to do something about it.”
The cider makers also pride themselves in using Pacific Northwest apples and locally sourced ingredients to invent some surprising flavors, including original dry, dark cherry, honey pear, sweet aged apple, vanilla bean, and seasonal ones like New England amber, mojito and watermelon.
“We bring in apples in the form of juice,” says Patrick, who will manage the new Fort Worth location. “So, we bring the juice out from Washington, and then we ferment it in tanks for a week or so, and then we filter it and blend it with things. So, for the Mojito Cider, it’s just fresh lime, fresh mint and cane sugar.”
On any given day, Locust will have 10 ciders on tap for patrons to put their taste buds to the test — the taproom serves ciders in the form of pints, growlers, flights or by the can.
Devoted fans can also join the company’s cider club, “the Swarm,” which includes access to one free flight or pint with every taproom visit and half-off growlers throughout the year. And, one-fifth of a member’s annual dues goes to the Hydrocephalus Association.
While Jason is grateful for the impact Locust Cider has already made on funding research for a cure to hydrocephalus, improved devices, and support programs through the Association, he feels there is much work to be done in terms of funding and awareness.
“It feels good [to have made an impact already] but we would like to see a cure or a better treatment,” Jason says. “The most rewarding part is that because we’re involved in this community of people dealing with it and we meet so many people, people tell us that it’s a condition that affects a lot of people. It’s not less common than some things like Parkinson's, and people don’t know about it. I know people who have it and their families are often frustrated that people see them living with it and think ‘It can’t be that big of a deal. They’re alive so it must not be that difficult.’ But it is.”
Although they moved to Washington, Patrick and Jason opening a taproom in what they consider one of the nation’s coolest cities was a no-brainer and a dream come true.
“Of all the things I’ve done, career-wise, [the move to Fort Worth] is the highlight,” Jason says. “This business is a passion, and to be able to come back and build [a taproom] where I grew up and where my friends and family are, and get to share that with them is the coolest thing.”
Locust Cider will be open Wednesday through Friday from 3 to 10 p.m. with varying hours on the weekends.
By: Courtney Dabney