Western Cider’s Great Bear Apple Drive

Western Cider’s Community Apple Drive Seeks Missoula’s Backyard Bounty

[Content copied from original press release.]

MISSOULA, Mont. – Last year, Western Cider Co.[1] teamed up with The Great Bear Foundation [2]to create a unique, community cider. For years, the foundation has run the Bears and Apples Program in attempt to keep bears from scavenging apples in Missoula’s urban areas.  Volunteer crews are organized to collect apples around the valley.  Now, those apples are being used to create a cider called the Great Bear Community Cider and 10% of proceeds from the sale of the beverage is donated back to the foundation.

This year, Western Cider is ramping up their search for community apples. THE GREAT BEAR APPLE DRIVE is a community apple harvest with a very simple concept: bring us your apples or pears and we will give you cider. Specifically, for every 40 pounds of apples, you get a $5 certificate in return. More important than the tradeoff, your contribution of apples is a collaboration to produce the most local of Missoula beverages besides water – hard cider. We will release this community cider, named The Great Bear, in early 2018.

To get involved, please, bring a minimum of 40 pounds of apples or pears to our tasting room at 501 N. California St. in Missoula, Montana between Noon and 6 PM, seven days a week. We would prefer your apples contained in a fruit box. If you are bringing more than 200 pounds, please, arrange a separate time by emailing matt@westerncider.com[3]. Please, no rotten, bruised, or open fleshed apples. Worms are OK!

If you would like to press your own apples, but have no access to an apple press, we will have a free pressing at our Montana Cider Week kickoff party on Sunday, October 1st.

About Western Cider Co.

WESTERN CIDER[4]’S story began in 2012 when Michael Billingsley planted a cider apple orchard in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley. This unique orchard is comprised of rare, heritage cultivars grown specifically for making cider. Michael continued to plant trees every year and currently has over 4,500 trees in his orchard with more than 50 varieties. Now, Western Cider is using those apples, as well as fruit from Pacific Northwest orchards, to produce a diverse range of easy going and traditional ciders, including their Poor Farmer canned line. Western Cider’s tasting room and production facility are located on the banks of the Clark Fork River in Missoula, Montana. Currently you can find Western Cider in the Missoula, Butte, Kalispell, Whitefish and Bozeman, Montana markets.

About The Great Bear Foundation

The Great Bear Foundation[5] is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of bears and their habitat around the world. The Foundation was created in 1981 to be a voice for the bears. The Great Bear Foundation came up with the Bears & Apples program to address what some wildlife managers identified as one of the biggest causes of conflict between humans and bears in Missoula: the abundance of domestic fruit in residential areas on the wildland-urban interface. Each summer and fall, we coordinate volunteers to help local residents clean up the fruit on their trees and in their yards.


  1. ^ Western Cider Co. (www.westerncider.com)
  2. ^ The Great Bear Foundation (greatbear.org)
  3. ^ matt@westerncider.com (cidercraftmag.com)
  4. ^ WESTERN CIDER (www.westerncider.com)
  5. ^ The Great Bear Foundation (greatbear.org)

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