Locust Cider opening in Gig Harbor
Locust Cider & Brewing Co. is expanding again in Pierce County – and this time it is across the bridge in Gig Harbor. If all goes as planned, it will open later this summer.
It’s a Harbor space that craft beverage lovers will know well. I certainly do. I’ve sipped countless brews and watched liquor be distilled in that space.
Now cider is on the way to 3207 57th Court NW in Gig Harbor.
The first time I wrote about that boozy space, it was home to 7 Seas more than a decade ago. When 7 Seas vacated 57th Court Northwest to move to its third Harbor location at the Peninsula Shopping Center (it recently relocated again to another Gig Harbor location), I wrote about Heritage Distilling opening in that spot in 2012. Heritage has since outgrown its first home. Locust also has outgrown its Woodinville production space. Heritage Distilling plans to expand production at its new Tumwater facility, which left Locust with an opportunity to expand, as well.
“We’ve needed to right size our production, honestly,” said Rebecca Spears, who operates Locust Cider with husband Jason. The cidery is known for its dry ciders, ciders made with heritage apples, and also its bold and unusual flavors such as smoked blueberry, Thai ginger, mojito and watermelon.
They opened their first Tacoma taproom on Sixth Avenue in 2018. The company has grown at a steady pace and now has more than a dozen tasting rooms, in the Puget Sound region and beyond, and the production facility in Woodinville.
“We outgrew Woodinville, the space there, a while ago,” said Spears. “We can’t be as efficient and do what we want in the space that we have.”
Woodinville will stay put as a production facility for the cider company, but it’ll shift its focus. That includes focusing on smaller batch “funkier” flavors and experiments. “We are going to leave a few smaller tanks in Woodinville. The rest will be moved to Gig Harbor,” she said.
The Woodinville space will then have room to achieve a few goals. One is to increase the size of the Woodinville space’s tasting room area. The other is to host cider-focused events.
“We’ll look at doing some apple pressing. People can bring their apples and we’ll do start-to-finish cider,” Spears said.
The Gig Harbor space will double the working area – from 10,000 to around 20,000 square feet.
“It’s double the size that we have now, but Woodinville is broken out,” said Spears, who noted that the layout of their Woodinville production space has always created inefficiencies in production. “Where we do our canning and where we make our cider is in one spot, and then we have to go to the other side of the business to store stuff. With Heritage’s space, it’s one giant big square.”
At the Gig Harbor space, Spears plans to keep the tasting room area about the same, which means it’ll remain pretty small.
“The interior of the taproom, there’s not a lot of space to work with,” she said.
But the outside space? That’s something else. I remember when 7 Seas opened its beer patio with a collection of rickety lawn furniture that was as fun as it was super casual.
Spears said she and her husband have big plans for that outdoor space.
“What we’re going to do is take the outside space and create a really big covered outdoor space so that we can have it year round and have a lot more people come and hang out. We’re looking at ways to make it covered and heated,” she said.
They also want to plant a few apple trees and make other exterior improvements that will make the space their own. I’m looking forward to a tasting on foot. Did you know that nearby within walking distance, Dunagan Brewing Co. is opening up a new brewery and restaurant? Read more about that here.
My big question for Spears – will Locust have food?
It’ll be part of the plan, but they’re in the process of figuring out how and where. They’re looking at partnering with local restaurants or food trucks.
The timeline is fluid, but if all goes as planned, Locust plans a late summer opening at their new Gig Harbor facility.
Will this mean any changes for the Tacoma tasting room?
“They’ll get the cider faster,” Spears said, laughing. No changes are being made at all to the Tacoma space. It will stay put.
LOCUST CIDER & BREWING CO.
New Gig Harbor location: 3207 57th Court NW, Gig Harbor
Opening: Later this summer
Tacoma tasting room: 2805 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; 253-301-1498
TACOMA’S FIRST YOU-POUR-IT PUB COMING TO TACOMA
Opening next door to Locust on Sixth, by the way, is Tacoma first pour-your-own beer concept. The Redd Dog. Read more about that here.