Western Cider Taproom in Missoula started the Great Bear Apple drive this week to encourage people to donate their apples, help make cider and protect bears all at the same time.
According to Western Cider, apples are irresistible to bears. They say reducing the number of apples in urban areas will decrease the chances of a bear in town.
As an incentive to get people to donate their apples, Western Cider will give every donor a $5 coupon to use at their taproom for every 40 pounds of apples they bring in.
Michael Billingsley, co-owner of Western Cider, says last year the taproom got more than 15,000 pounds of apples. This year, they're anticipating more than 20,000 pounds.
According to Billingsley, the donated apples will be made into three different "Great Bear Community Cider" batches. The community cider will be released at their taproom periodically in 2019. Donating apples will not only help the taproom, it will also help the bears.
Western Cider partnered with the Great Bear Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the conservation of bears, to create this apple donation drive. Western Cider will donate 10 percent of all proceeds from the community cider to the Great Bear foundation.
The company is accepting donations from 12 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at 501 N California St., every day of the week until Halloween.