The recent rumors of an Albuquerque brewery heading to the Four Corners proved to be true earlier this week, as Bow & Arrow Brewing officially announced it will be opening its first offsite taproom in Farmington. The Rambler Taproom is aiming for a winter opening, said Bow & Arrow CEO Shyla Sheppard, and is the product of a long search for a second location that had started in Albuquerque.
“We’ve been looking for a while,” she said. “Actively looked all over Albuquerque and the metro area. We explored quite a few properties, actually. But then again, as you know better than most people, there’s a lot of movement taking place right now in the market. Maybe there’s a future opportunity for us somewhere here, but for our first offsite, the more we looked at the Four Corners area, (we found that) it’s very much in line with how we’ve positioned ourselves, branded ourselves being about the American Southwest, and the Four Corners is really kind of the gateway of all of that.”
Bow & Arrow has already brought much of the visual aesthetic of the Four Corners region to its brewery hall in Albuquerque, as well as to some of the labels on its bottles.
“The landscape of that area is something that’s inspired us since the beginning,” Shyla said. “Cosmic Arrow, the design on the label is the Bisti Badlands, which is up in that area.”
There is also the personal connection for Shyla and Bow & Arrow co-founder Missy Begay.
“We’ve spent a lot of time up there,” Shyla said. “We’ve got family in Farmington. Probably in terms of places in New Mexico that we actually spend personal time outside of Albuquerque, it tends to be in that area. We’ll go camping there. We were just camping there two weeks ago. We’ll take our little trailer out there. We’ll go running, we’ll go hiking. So for lots of reasons it felt right. And, it’s proximity to Durango, I think there’s a lot of (craft) beer lovers in the Four Corners who like variety. Those are some of the main reasons.”
Now comes the hard part, actually setting up the taproom, which often involves paperwork, hard hats, and more paperwork.
“I’ve been working on that,” Shyla said. “Signed a lease, so we’ve got that in motion. But, it’s a process from here, working with our architects on the tenant improvements, what those look like, what the design plan looks like. I really enjoy that part. I’m looking forward to kind of revamping in not necessarily recreating what we’ve created in this space from an aesthetic standpoint. There will be elements of things here that will be reflected there, but we still want it to have its own kind of identity, so we’re calling it Bow & Arrow Rambler Taproom. It’s very much in line with that adventurous spirit, a lot of what we see as being around the Four Corners.”
The taproom itself will be less than a third the size of the beer hall in Albuquerque.
“It will be a much more intimate space, so we’re talking like 1,200 square feet,” Shyla said. “All of the brewing will still take place here. Everybody always asks if we’re going to brew there. No.”
The Rambler will be located on the east side of Farmington, leaving the west side to Three Rivers Brewery and the north side to the forthcoming Lauter Haus Brewing.
“If you were to segment the town of Farmington, different people hang out only in certain areas. It’s similar (to Las Cruces), I think,” Shyla said, noting how the owners of Bosque Brewing described the southern city’s neighborhood-centric views.
Shyla said her biggest hope is that the process of opening the taproom will be a lot less complicated than what she and Missy experienced getting the brewery open.
“Ideally it would be by the end of the year,” Shyla said. “But, I haven’t submitted our offsite (small brewer) license application yet, so I’m still working on that. In general, the process takes three to four months. It all depends. I’ve never dealt with the City of Farmington, but I already know zoning allows for what we want to do there, which wasn’t the case here. My recollection of the process, it seemed in my mind painful, but it’s because we were initially told we could do what we wanted to do, and then there was some backpedaling that happened which required us to go through a zone change. So I don’t think that will be the case in Farmington. We already have the zoning statement in hand.”
All of us in the Crew wish Bow & Arrow luck in getting the taproom open. Farmington is certainly transforming into another craft beer destination in our state with its new additions, and we look forward to our first trip back to the northwest in quite some time.
A big thanks to Shyla for sharing some of her time, and for the advance pour of the El Breakfast Stout, which hits taps this Saturday. How good is it? Head brewer Ted O’Hanlan said it is the best specialty stout he has brewed in his time at Bow & Arrow, and in the opinion of this stout lover, he is telling the truth.