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Moving from grape to grain

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Set aside that svelte wine glass and find a sturdy stein as a different kind of drink will be celebrated in Bernalillo over the Labor Day weekend.

Town officials this week announced that a new event, The Great Southwest Brew Fest at Bernalillo, will be put on in partnership with the New Mexico Brewers Guild. It will run Sept. 5 and 6 at Loretto Park.

The endeavor was introduced on the heels of the town announcing in December that the New Mexico Wine Festival at Bernalillo – a Labor Day weekend event put on for the past 27 years – will no longer be held.

“New Mexico is gaining national recognition for its exceptional beers and talented craft brewers,” Christopher Goblet of the New Mexico Brewers Guild said in a news release. “In the past two years, New Mexico has been awarded 16 medals at the Great American Beer Festival, and Marble Brewery was chosen as Small Brewer and Small Brewery of the Year in 2014. It’s a great time to partner with the Town of Bernalillo to build a world-class festival to celebrate our burgeoning brewing industry.”

The news release says the festival will showcase 25 craft breweries from the state and a dozen more from elsewhere in the Southwest. The event also aims to promote local food trucks, agricultural products and live music, and dispense interactive information on beer, food pairings and home brewing.

Bernalillo Mayor Jack Torres was enthusiastic about the new partnership.

“Events such as this support not only a strong statewide tourism effort, but also support small businesses from across the state,” Torres said in the news release.

María Rinaldi, director of community development for Bernalillo, said, “Visitors can expect a great festival featuring a popular and rapidly growing industry in New Mexico and a reason to celebrate.”