Local brothers brew a one-of-a-kind cider in east Idaho
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VICTOR — It’s March just before spring break and snow is still falling outside the big bay garage doors on Lupine Lane in Victor. Inside, the Perez brothers, Andrew, 28, and Alex, 32, are working in cadence between the five stainless steel drums that hold more sleepless nights than the men care to admit.
It’s canning day for Teton Valley’s newest brewers. The Perez’s company, Highpoint Cider, is steeped in anticipation for the first official batch of New England-style cider set to hit local retail outlets and restaurants in a first-of-its-kind pitch on this side of the Tetons.
“I moved here with the intention of executing this vision,” said Andrew standing in the taproom adjacent to the brewery operation. “We have built this company in such a way so that we can grow and provide jobs in the Victor community. You can’t do that by shooting from the hip. I didn’t come out here to rip sick turns on Teton Pass.”
The brothers grew up in New England spending their childhoods throwing rotten apples at each other and running through the family’s apple orchard, October Farm. They went on to college and started their own separate careers down different paths before boomeranging back to one another.
Alex was a transplant to the Tetons looking for something new after jumping off the hamster wheel of the corporate world, but what he wanted was something familiar – a taste of home.
“There’s not much cider out here,” Alex said of the Rocky Mountain West. “There is a big gap in the market across the West for cider. So I thought, I think I can write a business plan to create cider. My next thought was I’ll call Andrew, he has a degree in biochem. We did the business analysis…”
“And then I quit my job and moved out here,” Andrew said laughing and finishing Alex’s sentence.
“I knew that we thought differently and approached things from a different angle,” Alex added of Andrew. “When we were the most frustrated and not making good cider, I could sit down with Andrew and we worked out the problems together. There were some days I crawled into bed at 3 in the afternoon and cried and thought we were going to let everyone down. We were making s*** cider in our apartment in Jackson and I couldn’t have made it past that point without Andrew.”
Their vision for small-batch cider sourced from western orchards and fermented into a high-quality product grew and others in the food and beverage industry lent their support, trade tips and encouragement. An early and enthusiastic supporter was Gavin Fine of the Jackson Hole restaurant group Fine Dining. He gave the brothers space at the Q Roadhouse where they could stretch their recipes and explore flavors in a professional environment.
While the Jackson community was supportive of the brothers, finding a place to set up their own shop was another challenge. With the support of the business incubator Silicon Couloir, the brothers found the City of Victor to be the right fit.
The Teton Valley community has moved in to support them, particularly the brewing community including the pioneers of local brew Grand Teton and Wildlife, to the more recent brewmasters at Citizen 33. With a successful Kickstarter campaign completed this winter, they installed an Alfa Laval centrifuge that works to clarify and condition the cider giving them more control over the flavor of the brew. Alex said the support they earned from the Kickstarter campaign was “humbling.”
They are rolling out two flavors this month: Transplant and Spur at a little more than 500 gallons of each. Transplant is a bright, apple flavor that has a low sugar content and as Alex puts it “is a nice drink that won’t give you diabetes.” The Spur is a ginger-infused cider with a delightful tang that wakes up the taste buds. And with each sip, summer feels a little closer.
With one more flavor, Tram Line, in the works, the brothers are also daydreaming of non-alcoholic brews and teas down the line. In the meantime, the small tap room offers a low-key, comfortable space to taste products and earn some time with the co-founders.
Next Friday will be a Good Friday for Highpoint Cider when doors officially open to the public on April 2 starting at 2 and running through 9 p.m. Regular taproom hours will be Wednesday through Sunday from 2 until 9 p.m. Patrons are encouraged to bring take-out or their own snacks. Chips, guacamole and pretzels will be available for purchase. Highpoint Cider is located at 7565 Lupine Lane, Unit D just north of the main drag in Victor.
For updates on product distribution and business hours, stay connected through their social media outlets here.