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Growing Up: West Side brewer runs out of space, moves festival to Downtown

Boxing Bear Brewing Company’s annual BearFest has moved to the Albuquerque Convention Center. (Courtesy of Boxing Bear Brewing Co.)

BearFest enthusiasts are going to have to make the trip Downtown this year for the annual event formerly held on the West Side.

Boxing Bear Brewing Co. had to move BearFest to another location because it had outgrown the space.

“Unfortunately, it got so popular, it was causing some inconvenience to some of our commercial and residential neighbors,” Boxing Bear co-owner Kevin Davis said. “And so we don’t want to cause any bad will or force anybody to have to live with it all the time. We just want everybody to get along, so we decided we’d check out the (Albuquerque) Convention Center, and the folks that work at the Convention Center have been very welcome and cooperative, and they are excited for the event, and so are we.”

Taking the event to the Convention Center means more room for expansion and this year Boxing Bear has added distilleries, wineries and cideries to the list.

“Since there is a lot more square feet, we’ve got a little bit more room to work with inside the Convention Center, so now we’re able to invite a few more breweries, and we also invited a couple of distilleries and a few wineries as well,” Davis said. “We’ve got Left Turn Distillery and Santa Fe Spirits, and those guys are going to be joining us and we also invited New Mexico Hard Cider and also St. Clair (Winery) and Black Mesa Winery and we’re really excited for those guys.”

In addition to 20 New Mexico breweries, the event will feature giveaways, a cornhole tournament, live music, craft vendors, a video game station presented by Gamers Anonymous and canning demonstrations by Mother Road Canning. Duke City Peddler also will have its beer peddler at the event. VIP ticketholders get in early, receive special commemorative stemware and other perks. General admission attendees receive a commemorative pint glass. Both types of ticketholders get one free pint from the brewery of their choice and four 4-ounce samples of beer from the breweries of their choice, and they can purchase pints from their favorite breweries. A portion of the proceeds benefits Animal Humane of New Mexico.

“It’s going to be fun, and what we like about it is it’s all New Mexico,” Davis said. “It’s all local New Mexico products and vendors and brewers and winemakers. It’s just so uniquely New Mexican that’s what we’re really trying to highlight.”