For proprietor Andrew Koenig, the idea to establish a distillery in Southwest Idaho has roots in Europe, where he lived for three years in his father’s hometown of Lustenau, Austria. There, pears and apples and plums were transformed into clear, distinctive spirits. Later, Andrew returned to the Austrian Alps where he was an apprentice at a 400 year old facility where the centuries old tradition of distilling locally grown fruit was perfected.
At home in Idaho, some of state’s finest fruit was being grown on the Sunny Slope, near where his mother’s family had homesteaded and made wine during the Great Depression two generations earlier. Long summer days, cool nights and the temperate influence of the Snake River create an ideal climate for growing aromatic fruit. Aware of the potential quality of brandy distilled from fruit grown in this area, Andrew Koenig set out to establish a small orchard near the river. Peach, apricot, plum, pear and cherry varieties, known for their particular flavor, were planted in 1995. Harvest from these plantings comprise the majority of Koenig brandies.
In 2006, Koenig Distillery added new, much larger distilling equipment in order to produce a world-class potato vodka and later a huckleberry-flavored vodka made with wild fruit hand-picked in the mountains of Northern Idaho. Today the product portfolio includes a gold-medal bourbon as well as a rye whisky.