Red Door Brewing has set its sights a bit further east than ever before. The brewery’s next taproom will not even be in Albuquerque, but instead in a town that has no local brewing of its own.
“I was in Clovis at one point,” owner Matt Biggs said. “When you’re down in a place like Clovis there’s a definite lack of options for people there. When you tell them you’re down there and you’re with a brewery, they get really excited for you to go out there. We went down for a bit and we had been looking there for a year now, but nothing had worked out.”
Even as its Northeast Heights taproom closed, Matt kept hoping for something to come together in Clovis. It turned out that another brewery failing to close the deal left the proverbial door wide open for Red Door.
“Roosevelt Brewing was supposed to move into the bowling alley there,” Matt said. “That fell through last minute and the bowling alley had met our events person, Norah (Doss), and they called us because they knew we were interested in the city. It kind of worked out for us. The bowling alley had changed ownership and he didn’t want to do food and beverage service, so he reached out to us. That will be our first out-of-city taproom.”
Hooks’ Alley, formerly Main Line Bowl, will be the new home of a Red Door taproom. It marks the first time a brewery has taken on such an endeavor, and the first real craft beer presence in Clovis.
“I think figuring out the needs of the market (comes first), and then after the first few months and just have a presence,” Matt said. “When you have a remote (taproom), you have to have a good manager that you can trust down there, and making sure we’re making the trip frequently to keep them on it.”
Since Red Door has had its eye on Clovis for a while, Matt has already gotten a pretty good idea of what the market wants.
“We went there and did a couple of events,” he said. “The first one we did we took four half-barrels for a one-night event that was going to be four hours long, and we ran out of beer after about two hours. We had a 40-person-deep line the whole time. We went to our distributor who had a warehouse nearby and picked up a couple of sixtels and we were fine.”
The actual process of converting the bowling alley cafe into a taproom will not be nearly as hard as it was to set up the two previous Red Door taprooms.
“It’s pretty much ready to go, it definitely needs some aesthetic upgrades, so that’s primarily what we’re going to be doing,” Matt said. “We’re not going to be doing major construction, which is super nice. It was a bowling alley cafe, so it’s got a place for beer, wine, it’s got a full kitchen. We’re not stressing out the design of it.”
At this point it is all about waiting on the approval of the State of New Mexico.
“It’s more about the permitting,” Matt said. “We’ve never had to deal with the New Mexico Health Department because Albuquerque has its own. They’re very similar to AGD, so the permitting can take some months. But, basically once we’re permitted we can take beer down there and start serving it. We’re really looking forward to it.”
Matt said the Side Door Kitchen, the company-owned food truck at the main brewery location, has already helped Red Door prepare for how to handle the kitchen in Clovis.
“Our manager here (Ali Cattan) has an extensive food background, menus, pricing stuff out, getting supplies, it’s a pain, but you see everybody is trending toward food at this point,” he said. “I think there’s the realization that beer (alone) doesn’t cover the bills.”
All of us in the Crew wish Red Door the best of luck tapping into the untapped market of Clovis. The next time we are out that way, we will have to hit up the bowling alley for a couple games and a couple pints.