Casa Vieja Brewery set for an upcoming change in ownership

Casa Vieja is changing owners, but much of what its loyal customers love will remain.

I recently received an unexpected text from Gary Socha, owner of Casa Vieja Brewery at 4541 Corrales Rd. It said, verbatim, “Well, it’s official. We are under contract to sell Casa. It will take 6 months to get a new small brewers license for the new owner, but we have a buyer.” I was floored, so I went to Corrales to talk to Gary.

Basically, sometimes you get an offer you can’t refuse. Although Gary still loves what he is doing, he does have another business — his “real job” — and it’s taxing to say the least to do both. Co-owner Maria Socha, his daughter, is also making future plans beyond Corrales. And, there were specific, favorable conditions that were met by the buyers.

The new owners will keep the name, the staff, and the brewer. They share the same vision as the Sochas, which was important to Gary. Dan and Molly O’Brien, the soon-to-be owners, were there the day I did this interview. In fact, Dan was playing music on the patio, providing the afternoon’s entertainment. Dan is also a winemaker, and needed a place to sell his wine. I briefly met Dan and I told him I would be “bugging him” in the future like I do with Gary.

The Sochas will continue running Casa Vieja through the summer in a transitional period, making sure the licensing is fully in place before the switchover. The O’Briens are in the process of obtaining the small brewer license and winemaker license from the State of New Mexico.

The Casa Vieja staff also wanted me to be sure to let everyone know that starting this coming Wednesday, they will be hosting trivia on that day every week going forward. They are super excited about that, so come show off your knowledge and skills!

There are some big shoes to fill, though, because the Sochas are the nicest, most caring people. Case in point: not only did Gary take time out on a busy weekend afternoon for this interview, he also gave an impromptu in-depth tour of the historical property to my good friends and next-door neighbors I brought with me. The tour was accompanied by a side-by-side stout tasting. He really made them feel special, in exactly the way Gary does. My deepest thanks to the Sochas for everything over the years. And, a warm Crew welcome and good wishes to the O’Briens.

Happy patio weather, everyone!

— AmyO

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