Our ongoing series of updates on Albuquerque metro area breweries resumes with a look at how Nexus Brewery has adjusted to life as a to-go-only brewpub. The good news is that after initially feeling pessimistic about the whole setup, things have turned around for Nexus and owner Ken Carson.
“I feel we are mirroring (Turtle Mountain); we started off really slow the first couple of weeks and sales seem to be increasing a bit as we move forward,” Ken wrote in an email. “We are at about 50 percent of sales overall.”
Considering that most breweries were talking about being down as much as 90 percent at the start of the stay-at-home period, that is good news indeed. Here are the rest of Ken’s responses to our email questionnaire.
NMDSBC: What pandemic era innovations have worked out for your brewery?
Carson: No, we have not done anything I would consider innovative.
NMDSBC: Has online ordering (should you have it) been a bonus or a headache?
Carson: We will start our own online ordering for pick up next week. Door Dash is a pain in that the drivers are pushy sometimes. Our takeout skills need improvement and we are working on that everyday.
NMDSBC: Have sales remained constant or are they fluctuating week-by-week, day-by-day?
Carson: I am seeing what appears to be a pattern and sales are starting to become predictable.
NMDSBC: Have customers responded positively to any beer/food discounts? Or have you found most people are still unaware?
Carson: We have discounted our beer about 20 percent on growlers and that appeared to start moving the beer. We were not selling much beer at the beginning of the restrictions.
NMDSBC: What are some ideas you have coming up? Please include any special beer releases you would already like to start letting people know about.
Carson: We intend to open the (Blue) Smokehouse in May, and only stay open as long as the BBQ lasts.
NMDSBC: If the stay-at-home order is extended to mid or late May (which it has been through May 15), or even beyond, is there a point where the current to-go-only model is not going to be feasible for your brewery?
Carson: We can survive with the CARES Act money for the next two months. I am concerned after that if this goes beyond June.
Considering how popular the BBQ was the one day they did it at the main brewery, we are fully invested in making a run to the Blue Smokehouse when it reopens, even if only briefly. Our advice is to call ahead as far in advance as you can, or otherwise you might be left out.
A big thanks to Ken for responding to us, and of course for keeping Nexus open and all of us happily fed with chicken and waffles and Scotch Ale.
We will have another entry in this series later today (Monday).
Keep supporting local!