Our People

David & Jane Perkins

Founders

In 2004, David Perkins, a biochemist with a love for cooking, decided to leave his job at Genentech and move to Park City to pursue his passion for whiskey. It certainly helped that Jane, David’s wife, had a great grandfather who made the celebrated Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey in the late 1800’s. David’s vision was to make a world-class western whiskey and just as important, help people learn about it in a fun and relaxing setting. In 2008, High West became the first legal distillery in Utah since the 1870’s.  In 2009, the High West Distillery and Saloon opened in historic Old Town Park City and became the “world’s only ski-in gastro distillery” where visitors could experience the whiskey-making process in a restaurant serving delicious, innovative, locally sourced food designed to pair with and teach appreciation of whiskey. Since then, High West’s innovative whiskies have won top ratings and accolades.

John Esposito

Chief Executive Officer

John Esposito joined High West as CEO in 2015 with a 40 year career in the beverage business, having led such companies as Bacardi North America, Moet Hennessy USA, and Schieffelin & Somerset. Most recently, he was the chairman, North America at Stoli Group USA, and was a member of the High West Board of Directors. A native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Manhattan College and The Advanced Management Program for International Senior Managers at Harvard University.

Brendan Coyle

Master Distiller

Born and raised in Minnesota Brendan came to Salt Lake City in 1999, after completing undergraduate work at the University of Utah he began his career with Red Rock Brewing Company. After a several year apprenticeship in the brewing industry he headed to Edinburgh Scotland where he gained an appreciation for distilling and completed a Masters of Science in Brewing and Distilling Sciences at Heriot Watt University. With a love for Skiing and the southern desert Brendan was drawn back to Utah to join High West in early 2008. Brendan currently leads production and R&D.


 

James Dumas

Executive Chef

New York born and Swiss trained, James specializes in combining regional and seasonal ingredients, innovative approaches and classic cooking techniques. James' hospitality mantra is to offer unique food from the freshest ingredients, exceptional service, and comfortable ambiance paired with great wine and spirits.

James' culinary background spans 25 years and includes:

  • Culinary Institute of America - Hyde Park, N.Y. The River Café - New York
  • The Schutzenhaus Restaurant - Basel Switzerland
  • The Schweizerhof Hotel - St. Moritz, Switzerland
  • The Gala Buffet - Briarcliff Manor, New York
  • Sai-Sommet - Deer Valley Club-Park City, Utah
  • La Pasch - Stag Lodge - Park City, Utah
  • Goldener Hirsch Inn - Park City, Utah