ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — University-licensed beers are still relatively rare around the U.S. — but apparently not in New Mexico.
Just hours after New Mexico State University made public its new relationship with Bosque Brewing Co., the University of New Mexico announced a new collaboration with Kellys Brew Pub. Kellys will make a “Lobo Red” ale to serve at its Nob Hill Albuquerque location, other establishments owned by parent company Santa Fe Dining and UNM sporting events.
Brad Hutchins, UNM’s deputy athletic director, said discussions about Lobo Red go back at least six months. That UNM revealed the details so shortly after NMSU’s own announcement was coincidental, he said, noting that UNM had planned a news release ahead of Friday’s Lobo Club Cherry & Silver Scholarship Gala. That’s the first time Lobo fans can try the beer.
“It’s just the timing,” Hutchins said. “I’m happy for New Mexico State, to be honest.”
As with NMSU, the UNM deal involved an outside company contracted to negotiate licensing agreements on the school’s behalf. That company, Learfield Licensing Partners, gives UNM a guaranteed $500,000 per year, Hutchins said. All of it goes to athletics, he added.
Licensed products typically include the likes of T-shirts and other apparel, but Hutchins said there is already a UNM wine and salsa.
University of Louisiana Lafayette was a beer-licensing pioneer with the 2015 release of Ragin’ Cajuns’ ale. A few other schools have also followed suit, including Louisiana State, Tulane and Colorado State. Given New Mexico’s craft brewing scene, Hutchins said a Lobo beer seemed obvious.
“The craft presence in Albuquerque and the state of New Mexico is really high,” he said. “We’re known for that, and I think it makes a lot of sense to partner up with one of our partners to bring this project to reality.”
Santa Fe Dining President Randy Ropek said the company is working on a plan to eventually distribute the product in cans.