Crafting community, one pour at a time

26 Mar 2024

At Highpoint Cider, the Perez brothers are creating more than just superb sips

WORDS Melissa Thomasma | IMAGES Lara Agnew

With roots that stretch back to their grandparents’ apple orchard in New Hampshire, brothers Andrew and Alex Perez seem to be naturals when it comes to perfecting and sharing their mouthwatering unfiltered cider. But the path to their success in Teton Valley — and growing momentum beyond — isn’t as direct as one might first assume. “In 2018, we both left our jobs in the corporate world. We bought a book and started crafting cider in our kitchen,” recalls Alex.

Their collaborative effort to develop sophisticated yet approachable flavors in hard cider paid off; after years of experimentation and fine-tuning their products, the brothers opened the doors to Highpoint Cider Taproom in downtown Victor, Idaho, in April 2021. Since those early days, the brand has grown, distribution of the brothers’ products has expanded throughout the intermountain West, and their momentum is clear.

Favorites that are available both on-tap and in cans include Transplant (traditional semi-dry modern New England style cider), Spur (session cider, infused with ginger), and Tram-Line (dry-hopped, crafted with Mosaic hops). Since Highpoint eschews filtering, their ciders contain drastically less sugar than other hard ciders, and showcase more authentic ingredient flavors.

But perhaps even more refreshing than the award-winning flavor profiles that Andrew and Alex have created is their approach to cultivating a welcoming and safe sense of community in Teton Valley. “In 2021, we were approached by Andy Munz — creator of the iconic Your Girl Catherine character — and he asked if we would host a Teton Valley Pride event since there wasn’t one in the valley,” recalls Alex. The brothers were quick to say yes; welcoming the community into the taproom seemed a natural complement to the ethos upon which they’d created their entire business.

“It’s an extension of everything we’ve already done,” says Alex. “We’ve been observing where there are gaps or needs in the community, and we saw an opportunity to create an open, safe space. We want our inclusivity to be authentic, not just slapping rainbows on things. Instead, it’s embodying the Western ideal of having enough space in the community for everyone.”

“From the start, it was meant to be inclusive,” adds Andrew, high- lighting that the inaugural Pride Party was a huge success. “It’s about impact, not generating reactions.” A family friendly event, the block-party style event boasted food trucks, live music and — of course — plenty of delicious cider. Instantly adored by the community, it’s become an annual celebration.

In addition to hosting Teton Valley’s much-loved Pride events, Highpoint Cider frequently collaborates with other local nonprofits including the Mental Health Coalition, the Family Safety Network, and the Teton Valley Food Pantry. They’re not just hosting a typical humdrum fundraiser, either — embracing tactics like Trivia Night, Bingo, live music, collaboration with local food trucks, and other creative activities, Highpoint has become a community hub for not only forging social connections, but building impactful relationships throughout the community.

As the brothers look ahead, the future seems bright for Highpoint Cider. New products are in development and will be making appearances throughout the winter months, and distribution of Highpoint cider in Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado continues to expand into more restaurants, bars and retail locations. Of course, this won’t slow down the events calendar for the Victor taproom. Whether you’re wrapping up a day of fun at Targhee — or if you make a special trip over the pass for whatever experience is on deck — don’t be surprised how much you enjoy sipping the Perez brothers’ cider, or the unexpected friends you might make while you’re there.

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