Two cider operations to open this summer in Boulder

BOULDER — Boulder soon will join the ranks of communities in Boulder County that have cidery operations, and by mid-summer there will be two taprooms and production facilities.

Locust Cidery will open a taproom and production facility in Boulder this summer. Courtesy Locust Cidery.

BOCO Cider at 1501 Lee Hill Drive, in the former Decadent Saint Winery location, is producing cider for restaurant consumption with several Boulder County and Denver accounts buying kegs of cider. Michael Belochi, owner, bought the Lee Hill facility for $505,000, according to public records, and said he will open a taphouse by mid-June. “We’re behind schedule,” he told BizWest. He had planned to open in May. “I decided to go big on a bar top. The slab [for the bar top] was taken from an ash tree in Boulder that was 80 or 90 years old,” he said.

Also opening soon will be Washington-based Locust Cidery, which will open its fifth cidery and its first in Colorado. The Locust Cidery will open at 5446 Conestoga Court in early July. Brothers Jason and Patrick Spears, along with Jason’s wife, Rebecca, and local partners Noah Westby and Tanya Bonino will operate the Boulder location. The Spears brothers also have cider operations in Woodlinville, Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, as well as Fort Worth, Texas.

Jason and Rebecca Spears are graduates of Colorado colleges. Westby and Bonino are Boulder natives. Bonino will be the chief cidermaker, and if she follows the pattern for Locust, will release something new every other week, Jason Spears said.

The new cidery and taproom are part of an expansion plan to make cider more accessible to a larger audience as well as provide a space to teach about the nuances of the cider world, the Spears said.

“On a very high level, we are opening new cideries and taprooms so we can get as close to our customers as possible,” Jason Spears said. “It is fine to throw some cans on the grocery store shelves and hope people buy them. But what does a customer learn about us? What do we learn about the customer?

“That can of cider doesn’t tell them about the people who worked so hard to make their cider, about how we source apples from all over the Pacific Northwest, that we work with some of the world’s biggest growers and orchards as small as two acres, about our cause (Hydrocephalus), or about the story behind the name,” he added. “They can’t talk back to that can and tell it they love it or hate it or share their ideas for the next great cider. We can’t help them learn about cider, about bittersweets and sharps and everything in between. Opening new taprooms is our focus because of all of these reasons.”

The new Locust Cidery and Taproom will offer 14 taps (all Locust cider) made up of core favorites (Dark Cherry, Vanilla, Honey Pear), popular returning seasonals (Mojito, Watermelon) and limited specials. Apples will be sourced from Washington, but local ingredients such as peaches will come from orchards in Colorado.

Jason Spears, who was in Boulder installing tanks on Tuesday, said his family has been working on the Boulder location for a year. He said the Boulder location will be the only cidery location in Colorado for the company, but it might open taprooms elsewhere in the state.

The company commits a portion of its sales proceeds to the Hydrocephalus Association, a personal cause to Jason and Rebecca Spears whose daughter lives with the incurable brain condition.

BOCO Cider will be available only in the taproom and at restaurant and corporate customers’ facilities and will not be available in bottles or cans. That’s because BOCO uses what Belochi calls the “Boulder method” of producing cider: “no sulfites, unfiltered, naturally carbonated.” It is not shelf-stable for retail distribution and has to be refrigerated. It continues to ferment after it’s ready to consume, unlike ciders that are prepared for bottling.

Belochi said, like Locust, he will source some of his fruit from the Northwest but also use juice from the Western Slope of Colorado.

He said the most popular cider so far for BOCO is an English style that uses a yeast cultivated in England. It’s semi-sweet and contains about 8 percent alcohol. Another popular cider is a Belgian sour, made much like a sour beer. “It’s a soft sour, very lovely and very unique,” he said.

Other cideries in Boulder County are Stem Ciders, Lafayette; Old Mine Cidery, Erie; and St. Vrain Cidery, Longmont.

BOULDER — Boulder soon will join the ranks of communities in Boulder County that have cidery operations, and by mid-summer there will be two taprooms and production facilities.

Locust Cidery will open a taproom and production facility in Boulder this summer. Courtesy Locust Cidery.

BOCO Cider at 1501 Lee Hill Drive, in the former Decadent Saint Winery location, is producing cider for restaurant consumption with several Boulder County and Denver accounts buying kegs of cider. Michael Belochi, owner, bought the Lee Hill facility for $505,000, according to public records, and said he will open a taphouse by mid-June. “We’re behind schedule,” he told BizWest. He had planned to open in May. “I decided to go big on a bar top. The slab [for the bar top] was taken from an ash tree in Boulder that was 80 or 90 years old,” he said.

Also opening soon will be Washington-based Locust Cidery, which will open its fifth cidery and its first in Colorado. The Locust Cidery will open at 5446 Conestoga Court in early July. Brothers Jason and Patrick Spears, along with Jason’s wife, Rebecca, and local partners Noah Westby and Tanya Bonino will operate the Boulder location. The Spears brothers also have cider operations in Woodlinville, Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, as well as Fort Worth, Texas.

Jason and Rebecca Spears are graduates of Colorado colleges. Westby and Bonino are Boulder natives.…