ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Brewers Guild has named Leah Black of Marble Brewery as executive director. She succeeds John Gozigian, who is leaving for another opportunity, according to Black.
Gozigian did not respond to a request for comment.
Black is the first woman to lead the organization in its 22-year history. It represents 75 breweries throughout New Mexico.
“There’s still more men in this industry, but things are changing,” said Black. “I’ve heard that women in Egypt were among the first brewers. We need the balance of female energy in the business.”
Black will begin her new position on March 25, at which time she will leave her position as Marble’s public relations and social media director to avoid any potential conflict of interest. She said that while leaving Marble is “bittersweet,” she is excited to leverage her skill set to increase the digital presence of the guild and its members.
Black spent more than a decade working in radio and TV before working at La Cumbre Brewing Co. Her work at Marble included both social media management and beertending, allowing her to interact with customers both digitally and face to face.
Among her other priorities: publicizing the international awards won by several New Mexico breweries and working with the organization’s two lobbyists on political issues that could affect the industry.
In April 2017, Gozigian told the Journal there were 69 breweries in the state. That number has since grown to about 80, said Black.
Asked whether New Mexico is likely to reach the point of having more breweries than the local customer base can handle, Black said it’s true that a handful have closed in recent years for various reasons. Still, she said she is confident that there are plenty of opportunities for the industry to expand here.
“I love New Mexico so much, but in some ways we’re still this little untapped gem in the desert,” said Black. “We have more room to grow.”