ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Pistol Pete is headed for a pint glass.
Albuquerque’s Bosque Brewing Co. is launching a blonde ale named after the New Mexico State University mascot — part of a new licensing agreement that university leaders say could bring money to the athletic department.
Bosque will unveil Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale at its Las Cruces taproom today, and will also make it available to other establishments that serve Bosque beer, Managing Director Gabe Jensen said. It should also be sold at the Aggies’ football and basketball games, NMSU officials say.
Bosque struck the agreement with NMSU’s licensing partner, IMGCL. Bosque gives IMGCL about 10 percent of the beer’s sales, and the licensing company — which negotiates similar deals for items like Aggie-themed apparel — gives NMSU a quarterly check.
NMSU makes $100,000 to $125,000 annually from its IMGCL agreement, Athletic Director Mario Moccia said. He said his research into a handful of other universities that have a licensed beer indicate it’s a “five-figure endeavor.”
“We’re not going to get rich on this, but it is definitely a new revenue stream that I’m personally excited about,” he said. “As a lot of things are contracting from a financial standpoint, it’s incumbent upon us to be as innovative as we can from a revenue standpoint.
“This is a great chance to do that.”
University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Tulane and Colorado State are among the small list of schools that also have their own beer.
Three of Bosque’s five owners attended NMSU. That includes Jensen, who said the brewery saw Pistol Pete’s 1888 as a chance to extend its southern New Mexico presence. Its 2½-year-old Las Cruces taproom has proven successful, already requiring expansion.
“The people in Las Cruces have warmed up to (Bosque beer) and our staff … and really supported us,” he said. “We wanted to be a part of that community even more.”
NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers said he saw multiple upsides: new revenue and growing the NMSU brand, since Bosque sells its beer around the state. He said his vetting of the plan also included drinking some.
“I’ve done that, and it’s passed all my tests,” he said.
Bosque will not immediately release the beer in cans; Jensen said he wanted to wait until Bosque has access to its new production facility in Bernalillo.
Now under construction, he expects it to open in early 2018.
NMSU students and staff have helped in the branding, with a summer marketing class weighing in on the name and athletic department employee Randle Dominguez working on the proposed can and packaging design — which includes lyrics from the school’s “booze”-referencing fight song.