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Fire tragedy compounds woes: Taos Mesa Brewing battling back from devastating fire at Mothership

The Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership in El Prado suffered a devastating fire in early July. (Courtesy of Taos Mesa Brewing)

Taos Mesa Brewing had already taken a hit financially due to the current pandemic but a recent tragedy added fuel to the fire.

The Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership in El Prado suffered extensive damage after flames engulfed a large portion of the structure in early July. The Mothership opened in August 2012. In addition to its brewing operations there is an indoor live music venue and restaurant. An amphitheater was built in 2014 and can hold 1,500 for outdoor shows. Many local acts and a number of national touring acts have performed on the Mothership’s stages. The concerts had been placed on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic but now operations are also on ice due to the fire.

“The county fire marshal and our insurance company adjusters filed their reports and basically it came out as accidental and undetermined,” said Jayson Wylie, co-founder and CEO of Taos Mesa Brewing. “They do believe the fire started outside the building and worked its way in somehow, but they don’t know how it started.”

The brewery is now in the process of deconstructing all of the damaged area, including its roof, and tearing down all the interior. Taos Mesa’s sound system, point of sale system and other electronics are a total loss.

The badly burned exterior of the Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership in El Prado. (Courtesy of Taos Mesa Brewing)

“The smoke damage is pretty considerable,” Wylie said. “We’ve got probably two to three weeks left of cleanup and fire and smoke mitigation. And then we start moving toward rebuilding.”

The community reached out to the brewery soon after hearing about the devastating fire and a GoFundMe online fundraiser was created by Wylie. Progress updates and a link to contribute can be found at taosmesabrewing.com/mothership-1.

“There were so many people that reached out once the fire had happened asking how they could help,” he said. “… I didn’t really think about a GoFundMe. I had never done anything like that before and one of our customers suggested it. So I did it and the support has been excellent. There’s been promoters, musicians, customers, all kind of people that have helped out – fellow breweries.”

GoFundMe donations are helping cover various costs.

“Our insurance company has been great,” Wylie said. “They’re on it. In light of all this, GoFundMe is great because we still have to pay insurance premiums and deductibles and we have all these bills that don’t stop but our revenue has stopped completely because of COVID and now because of the fire so any help we can get is greatly appreciated.”

Taos Mesa’s goal is to raise $50,000. A recent review showed the brewery had raised $23,368.

“I don’t know how any of this is going to work,” Wylie said. “It’s not a fast process. It’s really very a slow and arduous process. So like I said that GoFundMe is really helping us kind of jumpstart everything with paying our insurance deductible and our insurance premium. Our insurance is expensive and those bills don’t stop.”

The fire spared the brewing system at the Mothership and the brewery tried to salvage the product that it could. The brewhouse is located on the other end of the building and its electrical system was the only thing affected.

“We just have a lot of product that was spoiled,” Wylie said. “The power was out for a long time as a result of the fire but we’re getting back on it and we have some offerings. We’re moving beer around as best we can and saving whatever we can but there will be some beer loss for sure.”

The brewery is now ramping up to be able to make more product. It has separated its electrical systems and everything is back online at the brewhouse. About 99% of the brewery’s product is sold over the counter. Taos Mesa beer lovers can pick up their favorites at the brewery’s taproom located at 201 Paseo del Pueblo Sur in Taos. The taproom also has tasty food offerings to-go. See what’s on tap and on the food menu by visiting taosmesabrewing.com/taos-tap-room.

“We had a few accounts here and there in Taos, but really if they want to help they have to come to the taproom and get some pizzas and some beers to go,” Wylie said. “We have pizzas and sandwiches, they’re wood-fire pizzas. We have growlers and squealers to go and we’re going to do another mobile canning run here pretty soon so that we’ll have some 6-packs to offer as well.”

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