ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — During seven years of working in the liquor industry as a manager for Total Wine, Robert Houston was used to seeing New Mexico-made vodka, beer and wine.
But when it came to vermouth or liqueurs there were almost no locally made products.
“I have a real sense of what is out there and what is missing in the portfolio,” Houston said.
So Houston and his wife, Anna Jones, decided to change that with the launch of 505 Spirits, New Mexico’s first brand devoted solely to craft liqueur, vermouth and brandy.
Bottles of the liqueurs will debut this November with a pre-launch at 505 Central food hall in Downtown Albuquerque when it opens later this fall.
“(505 Central) will be the exclusive venue featuring our spirits at their bar from their opening until we are ready for general sales to other locations mid- to late-November,” Jones said in an email.
She said the focus is on production and expanding sales, but concept-planning has started for a kiosk-type establishment with outdoor seating and small menu items.
To create the liqueurs, Jones put her decades of restaurant experience to work and began tinkering with recipes involving prickly pear. Red and green chile liqueur variants soon followed.
Right now, 505 Spirits is distilling eight varieties of alcohol, four different flavors of liqueurs, two different vermouths, one brandy and one bottled cocktail.
Houston said 505 Spirits will be the first company in the state to offer a New Mexican made vermouth, which means that bartenders around the state will have a greater ability to create a 100% New Mexico-made cocktail.
All of the spirits are crafted using herbs and spices – and without artificial flavorings and extracts, Jones said.
“It’s really, really (from) scratch,” she said.
Even the grapes for the brandy are sourced from the vineyard owned by the couple.
Prices for the spirits will range from $29.95 to $39.95.
FatPipe to open East Mountains location
Local coworking company FatPipe is readying to open a fourth location in the East Mountains by January 2021.
It will be the first rural location for the company, which operates its locations in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Taos, FatPipe assistant director Misty Witt said.
“We feel like there is an unmet need for entrepreneurial help and internet access,” Witt said.
She said the company had been interested in building a rural location for some time and the new location at 215 Cowboy Way in Edgewood was chosen due to its proximity to the other locations.
FatPipe provides rental office space for entrepreneurs and small business owners at daily and monthly rates.
Witt said the 6,7000-square-foot location will feature six private offices, several single person offices and open style seating.
Brixens has reopened after extended closure
Brixens, the Downtown restaurant on the corner of Central and Fourth Street, reopened several weeks ago following a seven-month closure.
While the restaurant is taking orders once more, diners will be limited to takeout and delivery options, Brixens’ owner and chef Tanya Sanchez said in a news release.
Sanchez said the decision to reopen in October was based around a redesign of the menu, retooling the service model to exclude indoor dining and installing a takeout window.
“As it got closer to fall, and all the experts were warning of a fall virus surge, we made the decision to focus our efforts on just takeout and delivery,” Sanchez said. “Our fear was that we would bring back front-of-house staff, and have to lay them off again if stricter restrictions were put on indoor dining.”
Sanchez, who temporarily closed the restaurant in early March, said in addition to service changes, the menu also included a redesign by adding vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free versions of popular menu items.
Brixens has also implemented a new online ordering system and is working with Duke City Deliveries, a local delivering company, for delivery order.
Blake’s to add Coors location next year
New Mexico’s favorite fast food restaurant chain, Blake’s Lotaburger, is adding a new location on Albuquerque’s West Side.
The new 2,300-square-foot location at 4121 Coors NW near St. Francis, will be under construction for four months and opens in February 2021, Alice Skousen, marketing administrator for Blake’s Lotaburger said.
Like the other recently opened locations on Juan Tabo NE and in Roswell, the Coors location will feature a drive-thru and serve breakfast items all day, Skousen said.
Skousen said stores of this size typically hire 30 people.
Pilar Martinez covers retail and commercial real estate for the Journal. You can reach her at email@example.com or by phone at 505-823-3887.