Greetings, all, hope you had fun on this past sunny weekend. It was a fun time, wasn’t it? I mean, aside from that whole rain of 3-point death by Wisconsin against my Arizona Wildcats (curse you, cheeseheads!), I think just about everyone I know had a pretty good couple of days. Of course good days do not necessarily equal productive days as far as beer writing goes, so as Monday began I realized we didn’t have any fresh content for all of you today. That is kinda dumb on our part since this past week marked the biggest story for page views, single day for page views (doubling our previous high and then some), and thus last week was our biggest week and March is now our biggest month. Phew. Got all that?
So let me say thank you, to all who read our site last week, to those who forwarded the links, or just told folks they had to check ’em out. We appreciate it. None of us are doing this for the money, just for the love of the beer, so it’s gratifying to see you all are enjoying it, too.
But back to that story on the legislature and what it all means for the near future of brewing in New Mexico. During a chat with a couple of Albuquerque Journal reporters, I learned that one of the major breweries here in town is already scoping out the Northeast Heights for a third taproom. I won’t say who (some of you will probably guess), at least not until I get an official yay or nay from the boss over there, but that is one of my major homework assignments for this week. I do have interviews set up at two breweries (so far) to see how the bills will impact them and I hope to get more by week’s end.
Breaking down the bill-by-bill impact:
1. All the brewery-restaurants can now distribute their beers off-site. I know from past interviews that Nico Ortiz at Turtle Mountain was a major champion of this bill (ditto Rod Tweet at Second Street, who will be chatting with Luke this week). While Chama River and Blue Corn have been able to send their beers to the Draft Stations, those are also owned by their parent company, Santa Fe Dining. How long until we could see Sleeping Dog Stout and Oku Amber and Nexus Scotch Ale at places like Sister or Nob Hill Bar & Grill? I will see what the plans are.
2. Breweries can serve beer and wine at private events held on site. E-Rock has already gotten the Sandia HS Class of ’95 Reunion set for Tractor Wells Park this summer (I was Class of ’96, FYI; we’re both old now). So now if they want, Tractor can purchase local wine and sell that in addition to their beer and cider for the event. It could make those (weird) people who don’t like beer happy, I guess. This certainly opens up more places as being able to host parties like reunions or wedding receptions. I guess now when Brandon gets married he’ll have his pick of local places to host the reception. Ditto Shilling. Jeez, I have a lot of weddings to go to in the near future. And that’s not counting my cousins getting married at various locations around America.
3. The fabled third taprooms will soon be upon us! Well, maybe. It will probably be a little while before anyone hits the ground running, but we can think of a few joints. Marble, obviously, comes to mind after having Santa Fe and Westside already up and running. Based on the fact that Bosque just recently opened Nob Hill and Las Cruces, we might want to give Gabe Jensen and his staff a chance to catch their breath before they start looking around again. Similarly, Santa Fe Brewing is only in the process of building their second taproom here in ABQ. You have to wonder if under-served places, like the aforementioned far NE Heights in ABQ, or perhaps other towns around the state (Las Cruces, or cities that have no local breweries like Roswell, Clovis, Hobbs, or Carlsbad) could be targeted. This could also fire up locals like La Cumbre and Nexus to get to work on their first off-site taprooms, though that’s purely my speculation.
4. SB471 is for alternating proprietorship, a concept where small breweries can “rent” time and space at bigger breweries to brew up their beers. It won’t quite be a collaboration, but let’s say a smaller brewery wants to concoct a bigger batch, or perhaps a small place has an equipment issue or is working on expanding and just needs temporary help. We figure this could always lead to more collaborations and the like, as well. It might be neat to see what a small place like Back Alley or Lizard Tail or Kaktus could do with one of their recipes brewed to a big scale at a place like La Cumbre, Marble, or Tractor (assuming those places will ever have the time and space, they’re all kinda busy). But let’s say it gets hard for Blue Corn to keep up during their pending expansion, maybe James Warren can trek over to Santa Fe Brewing and make sure he does not run out of Roadrunner IPA. Brewers help brewers all the time around ABQ and SF, now maybe they can go the extra mile.
Luke and I will be running amok this week trying to get you all the news you need to know about the actual details, not just our speculation, as to what it all means going forward. Plus, we are still going to be churning out more articles in our NM Women in Beer series.
So yeah, we are kinda busy right now. And ABQ Beer Week is only about seven weeks away. No rest for the weary, right?