We return to our ongoing series of updates on craft breweries in the Albuquerque metro area and how they are still adjusting to the current rules and regulations. To finish the week, we checked in on La Reforma Brewery, where pescado tacos are the Friday special of the day, and two new beers were recently added to the taps in Wai-iti SMASH Pilsner and West Coast, Vato! IPA. Place your order online in advance of heading over to the brewery at 8900 San Mateo Blvd., just north of Alameda.
Here is what co-owner John Gozigian had to say in response to our email questionnaire.
NMDSBC: What pandemic era innovations have worked out for your brewery?
Gozigian: Online ordering, Grubhub delivery, packaging of michelada mix and margarita mix.
NMDSBC: Has online ordering (should you have it) been a bonus or a headache?
Gozigian: This has been the best thing we’ve done. (It) significantly streamlines the takeout process.
NMDSBC: Have sales remained constant or are they fluctuating week-by-week, day-by-day?
Gozigian: Still too early to say, but they’ve remained fairly consistent at about 25 percent of previous sales.
NMDSBC: Have customers responded positively to any beer/food discounts? Or have you found most people are still unaware?
Gozigian: Yes, but we’ve found that discounting is probably unsustainable for very long. Margins are already much slimmer on growler and bottled spirit sales. To-go packaging also takes a big bite out of food margins.
NMDSBC: If the stay-at-home order is extended to mid or late May (Edit: it was extended to at least May 15 after we sent out these questions), or even beyond, is there a point where the current to-go-only model is not going to be feasible for your brewery?
Gozigian: We’re still evaluating the to-go-only model and need to complete a full accounting cycle to determine whether it’s preferable to going dark until it’s possible to reopen fully.
We all hope that La Reforma will be able to stay open until the current restrictions are lifted, in part or in full. Certainly there are some members of the Crew, and our friends, who rely upon them for sustenance of the food and beer variety.
A big thanks to John for responding. We will have the final three entries in this series ready to go next week, plus we should also have a look at how things are going at Second Street Brewery from Luke, and then we will just play it by ear in case anything else changes out there. See some of you at the NM Brewers Guild online virtual toast at 5 p.m. today (contact the Guild on social media for connection info).
Keep supporting local this weekend!