Local breweries, wineries and distilleries have seen better days.
But the businesses want New Mexicans to eat, drink and be merry even during this bleak time. Breweries, wineries and distilleries throughout the state are doing their part to make sure the public has access to their products. People may not be able to hang out and have a pint or partake in tastings, but they can stock up on local craft beer, wine and spirits to enjoy at home.
The businesses are making it as convenient as possible for people to pick up their drink of choice.
“I will meet you at the door as long as you get out of the car, but I have had it where I have carried a 12-pack for somebody out there because people are nervous to come in anywhere,” said Frank Holloway, owner of Hollow Spirits Distillery. “They’re really scared to be out in public, so I try to do whatever I can to help with that. If they want to come up to the patio, I’m down with that. I am willing to help out folks to sell a couple bottles.”
Local breweries are filling new growlers and crowlers and selling packaged products, as well as offering gift cards.
“Your favorite local breweries will have a person,” said Leah Black, executive director of the New Mexico Brewers Guild. “A lot of times, it’s going to be the owner, because they’ve had to lay people off, sadly. But they will have someone in there filling growlers, crowlers, cans. Not everybody distributes in that packaged kind of way, but a lot of places will do growlers now. Most places are not refilling growlers because of sanitary restrictions, so they are offering brand-new growlers for sale that you can get filled to take home.”
Wineries have an advantage in that they are legally able to ship wines to your door, unlike breweries and distilleries.
“Wineries have the blessing of the fact that we can do direct consumer shipping so by the bottle, half-case, full case, 10 cases, and we can ship it anywhere in New Mexico, as long as they have a license,” said Chris Goblet, executive director of New Mexico Wine. “So that is one advantage, that people can just stay home and trust that UPS will deliver to their door and they sign with their ID.”
Certain New Mexico wineries are offering home delivery through their social media or on their websites.
All are taking advantage of this time to create more product for when regulations are lifted and patrons can once again congregate in taprooms and tasting rooms.
“A lot of people are still brewing or taking this time to brew something that takes a little longer, like a really crisp lager, because it does take longer than a regular ale,” Black said. “I’ve heard from a lot of people, they’re, like, ‘Well, let’s experiment on a new style during this time. Brewing is still happening, because we know on the back side of this, people are going to need beers and we’re going to need to celebrate.”
Some of the breweries, wineries and distilleries with kitchens are also offering takeout, delivery or both. Some wineries also have gourmet offerings, including fine chocolates and nuts, that can be purchased when patrons visit the wineries for bottle pickup.
“Because we’re seasonal, our wines are being released right now,” Goblet said. “We have spring releases coming out. Some of that is getting held up in certain circumstances, but now we’re cleaning the tanks, cleaning the winery, pruning the vineyards, doing transfers, checking out the quality of our product, probably moving some things into barrel. The winery industry is full-on moving. We can just keep on going. Luckily, we’re a seasonal business in that sense.”
Many have reduced their hours of operation so calling ahead of time is recommended. Many of the businesses are working with a skeleton crew due to necessary layoffs.
“It’s really hard,” Black said. “A lot of people are having to lay their staff off completely… People are trying to keep their spirits high but it’s just so hard now. It’s just so heart wrenching… I would just call ahead and they’ll be really happy to hear from you. You just might make somebody’s day. Somebody might be sitting there for an hour with no sales so I’d say if you want to help you can.”