ReSource Brewing finds its way amid the new normal as neighborhood pub

Tucked into the back corner of a shopping center at Eubank and Candelaria, the year-old ReSource Brewing Company is making its mark as a neighborhood brewery in the Northeast Heights.

For many new business owners, opening a brewery during a pandemic may have been an impossibility. For Shawn Wright, the brewer and co-owner of ReSource Brewing Company, the experience has been “fun, to say the least.”

Just before the new year, I met up with Shawn and his wife and brewery co-owner Stephanie for their very first Look Back/Look Ahead Series article since opening a little over a year ago.

Outside the brewery, I was greeted by the sight of cheerful holiday lights and shiny brewing equipment.

Having just passed their one-year anniversary in October, there was no baseline for the brewery prior to the pandemic. For Shawn and Stephanie, in some ways this was a good thing. It was a challenging year, but there was nothing prior to compare it with.

“Now that we’re used to it,” Stephanie said, “what is our normal going to look like?”

“This past year has been a do-over for everybody,” Shawn said. “It may take a few years to figure out.”

Being small, and thus doing all of their own distribution, buffered them from some of the supply chain issues that larger breweries have experienced. Sustainability and mindfulness of the environment is still core to the ReSource business model as they continue to evolve their distribution methods.

“Our method is glass because it’s reusable,” Shawn said. “Recycling is great, but reusable is much more impactful.”

In the early days of the brewery, they began with unbranded growlers with no charge for the glass. They now have their own branded growlers, and most recently, have started offering four-packs of bottled house beers.

Just some of the merchandise available for purchase on-site at the ReSource taproom.

With the addition of new bottled beers came the loss of the in-house food menu, which both Shawn and Stephanie admitted they never planned or even wanted to have in the first place.

“Food trucks are hard,” Shawn said. “Running your own kitchen is even harder.”

Initially, they started the kitchen to fill a need as people were getting hungry and leaving the brewery. Then, this past October, a new Italian restaurant opened within the same shopping center. Stephanie introduced herself to the owners, a native New Mexico couple from Socorro, and established a partnership between the two businesses. Now, customers are able to scan a unique QR code to order and have food delivered directly to their table.

“Freeing up the kitchen has allowed us to do some more on the beer side of things,” Stephanie said.

In addition to having more space for bottling, the Wrights also recently purchased two new fermenters, a smaller one for experimental batches and a larger one to scale up new recipes into full batches and possibly put them into rotation.

The original brewing equipment up front provides customers with a brewery feel upon entering the taproom.

ReSource currently has three classes of beer — core beers that are always on tap, rotations or seasonals, and rarities, which are brewed as small or micro batches. Rarities have included Bobbing for Amber Apples, Gingerbread Brown, and the highly popular Christmas Bloody Christmas, a cranberry imperial stout that Shawn described as a “fun beer to make, and even more fun to consume.”

The most recent rarity is a champagne wit released just before the new year. It was brewed with a yeast strain developed in a lab in Chicago, one that Shawn said “basically just dries it out,” giving it that champagne character. Served with a slice of orange, it tastes similar to a mimosa.

Rarities are served up with a little something extra to go along with the theme of the beer, and has included Werthers candy, gingersnap cookies, or in this case with the champagne wit, an orange slice.

Although rarities typically don’t last long, the goal for 2022 is to build up the small-batch program with a steady supply of new and unique ingredient-driven beers. Shawn and Stephanie pay close attention to customer patterns to see what resonates as they try out new recipes. An amber that initially started out as a rotation has been so popular that they’re now looking to bring it on as a core offering.

Every decision made at the brewery is intentional, from the taproom layout to the type of events hosted on-site. To help customers disengage from technology and encourage face-to-face communication, there are “quiet” spaces with speakers pointing away from the tables and no TVs. This gives the space a “coffee shop” style atmosphere.

The taproom’s cozy atmosphere invites private conversation or an opportunity to meet new friends at the bar.

Over the past year, ReSource has already built up a regular clientele, and Shawn and Stephanie said they are excited as returning customers begin to bring family and friends to the brewery. As more new customers come in, the Wrights hope to bring on new events while also not alienating regulars. One new event that was brought on this month is Wednesday trivia night.

“It’s a neighborhood brewery, first and foremost,” Shawn said. “In the past year, we’ve met the most enjoyable people, and built relationships with customers and staff.”

Looking ahead, the Wrights said they are excited for the new year, as people begin to look at the current situation with a new frame of mind. They are looking forward to becoming more engaged with the brewing community and participating in more beer festival events.

For the Wrights, the most important priorities for ReSource in the coming year are to engage with the community, get beer into different formats, and to have fun.

“As long as it’s fun, I think we’re going to keep doing it,” Shawn said. “I don’t think it can get any worse than last year (2020), so cheers to (this) year.”

Thanks so much to Shawn and Stephanie for taking the time to meet with me and sharing your perspective. We are excited to see what’s next for ReSource in 2022!

Cheers!

— Maureen

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