The Duel Brewing taproom in downtown Albuquerque is no more.
After hearing rumors for a week, the Crew ventured downtown last Wednesday to see for ourselves if the taproom had indeed closed. By all appearances, it has been shut down, and with the deletion of the site’s Facebook page, we feel confident in writing that the taproom has closed.
We had been waiting for a response from Duel owner Trent Edwards, but he has not written us back. Our last communication with him came after this story, in which we noted that there was an advertisement online for the taproom space being up for lease. Edwards vehemently denied that his taproom was closing in a series of emails, culminating with an official statement that simply read “On the record: Duel Taproom ABQ is not closing.” We received that email on September 7, but nothing since.
Our quick visit to the taproom, after its posted time of opening (2 p.m.), found the entire building to be dark. A large for lease sign, by Coe & Peterson Properties, was on the outside. While the big logo was still up on the upper facade of the building, the front entrance had been scraped clean of the logo and hours of operation. There was no visible movement inside as all the lights were off, with the chairs still up on the tables.
People involved in the downtown music/arts scene informed us that all of the events scheduled at Duel had been relocated to other nearby breweries, including Sidetrack and Boese Brothers.
Right now, we can only speculate as to why the taproom closed. The likeliest cause is that it simply was not making enough money to cover the cost of the lease for such a large space. Duel had one of the largest, if not the largest, off-site taprooms in the state. Throw in the location on Central, where rent costs are higher than elsewhere in the city, and it was seemingly tough to make a profit. Again, though, this is only speculation until we have an official interview with Edwards.
Duel is the second downtown taproom to close in recent months, following Monk’s Corner, which shut down due to financial reasons at the end of July. That leaves only Boese Brothers, Sidetrack, and the Red Door taproom in downtown proper (we consider Marble to be a part of the Wells Park neighborhood since it is north of Lomas) in terms of craft-beer-specific establishments. Downtown breweries in the 1990s included the first Rio Bravo Restaurant and Brewery and San Ysidro Brewing, which closed in 1998 and 1997 respectively.
Our condolences to Duel’s fans in ABQ. We hope everyone in Santa Fe continues to support the brewery there.