Despite the pandemic, Kaktus Brewing finished 2021 thriving and is off to an audacious start for 2022.
Their entertainment is booked through July and they continue to roll out new beers according to Kaktus Brewing president Dana Koller.
This weekend will be jam-packed with entertainment, including a Mardi Gras celebration. Mardi Gras is celebrated in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday, which is on March 2.
• Friday – Flamenco d’Aki, a Tablao style flamenco, will perform from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. featuring Ronaldo Baca on guitarra with dancers Sarah Sanders and Mina Shibata Valle, and singer Melissa Montoya. The brewery will clear out some of the tables so the group can install a wooden dance floor to provide an authentic flamenco experience.
• Saturday – “The Twisted Trio” will take the stage from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
• Sunday – The Mardi Gras celebration is returning after taking a hiatus in 2021. The event will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. with Kaktus Kats Blues jamming on stage. There will be a costume contest, a crowned king and queen and a second line parade. The Desert Darlings belly dancers will take the stage from 6 to 8 p.m. following the Mardi Gras event.
“We had a few months of closure last year,” Koller said. “It ended up being one of our best years. We reopened earlier than a lot of other people. Started doing entertainment earlier than most, too.”
Koller said it was also because the majority of clientele the brewery serves is at or near retirement age and they were some of the first group to receive vaccinations, making them more willing to be out in public socializing.
“People were really looking forward to being back in the community,” he said. “We have a tight-knit community.”
Koller said the pandemic and closure gave them to time to plan and rethink their strategy moving forward. They have taken that extra revenue and reinvested it back into their operations.
They purchased some new equipment in the kitchen they had been leasing to cut costs there. They bought new brewing equipment that is bigger and more efficient. Finally, they invested in two shipping containers for storage that has allowed them to buy in bulk, further cutting costs.
“Everybody knew prices (for materials) were going to increase,” he said. “We did what we could to mitigate costs. We tried to be strategic so we didn’t have to raise prices a lot. We worked hard to make that happen.”
They were successful. Beer prices there only went up about 50 cents.
Their latest venture, Koller said, is wine size bottle-conditioned ales that allows the beer to continue aging after it’s bottled.
“This is something you want to open at the dinner table and share,” Koller said. “Every time you open it, it’s a little bit different.”
They carry three bottled styles: barley wine, an imperial stout and an English ale.
Kaktus is located at 471 South Hill in Bernalillo. Visit kaktusbrewery.com for more information.