JUNO teams up with Las Vegas distillery to raise money for NM fire victims

Wanted Brewing & Distilling owner Brian McGill is selling discounted bottles of his rum and other spirits to other breweries and bars, including JUNO, with a portion of the proceeds those places make going to the NM Red Cross.

Brian McGill and his family, who have raised alpacas in Northern New Mexico for more than a decade, decided a few years back to open a brewery/distillery in Las Vegas, filling the void for such a place in the town along Interstate 25.

While Wanted Brewing & Distillery is not fully open to the public yet, it has been able to start producing and bottling spirits. Now, with the entire area around Las Vegas hurting due to the massive Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon wildfire raging in the mountains above, this new brewery/distillery has taken the chance to help others. It just needed some partners, and found one in Albuquerque in JUNO Brewery and Cafe.

“He just sent out an email,” JUNO co-owner Jason Marks said of McGill. “I didn’t know him, but I know his community. I love Northern New Mexico, been up hunting near there, north of Pecos. … They reached out and we’re just wrapping up our fundraiser for Ukraine, and it’s a feel-good thing. We had the Triple-X (lager) that we did a barrel-and-a-half that we put aside. We’ve been selling that with proceeds going to support the people and government of Ukraine. This came along, and we said why not?”

Starting today (Friday) during happy hour, for every rum-based drink sold at JUNO made with Wanted’s rum, $3 will be donated to the New Mexico Red Cross to help fire victims. Other businesses joining in are Bar Castaneda in Las Vegas, The Junkyard on 66 Brewery in Grants, and a trio of Santa Fe establishments — Joe’s Dining, La Boca, and Leaf & Hive.

McGill said he and his family could not simply sit back and do nothing, and he is grateful to find others in the brewing/bar/distilling community statewide who are willing to help.

“With all the fires and devastation that’s going on all across New Mexico, really, but now the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon is over 230,000 acres (and) we’re personally affected,” McGill said. “Our friends, neighbors, (and) family have been evacuated. We’re doing whatever we can to support everybody. One way we know — and we’re one of the only manufacturers, per se, that actually makes something in Las Vegas — is to reach out and see if we can get support from local restaurants and supporters, like Jason here at JUNO. We’re going to be donating a percentage of our bottle sales, which we’ve discounted at a great price, just so that these guys can make the money and be able to donate a little more on the back end. We’ve had a great response.”

Marks said the fast-evolving partnership came together quickly and easily.

“They’ve been great,” he said. “He’s offering a discounted price on the spirits. It’s spirits, which is a heck of lot … the logistics make it easy. You don’t have to deal with kegs, bringing back kegs. We do a pretty good spirits business here. I thought we’d give his stuff a shot. For this fundraiser, we’re going to start with six bottles of rum. We’re going to donate $3 from each rum-based drink, and I think that’s going to be a few hundred dollars. We’ll do our part, and our customers will be doing good when they order a mojito or a Cuba libré.”

In the end, it should be noted that Marks ended up ordering 12, not six, bottles of Wanted rum.

Head out to JUNO tonight, or any of the other listed businesses if you are not in Albuquerque, and snag a cocktail to help the citizens of Northern New Mexico. Every dollar counts these days.

A cheers to Brian, Jason, and everyone else involved.

Keep supporting local!

— Stoutmeister

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