ABQ Beer Week celebrates local craft brewers, highlights economic impact

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Albuquerque breweries are kicking off a week-long series of events surrounding our local beer scene. 

While still small, New Mexico brewers have won big at national competitions and they say they’re not slowing down.

“I think Albuquerque’s been doing a really good job of trying to explore and expand,” explained Randy King, head brewer at Nexus Brewery. 
  
Metro Brewers say craft beer could be the fastest growing market in the state.

“We opened up in Los Ranchos a year ago and we’re one of their largest employers right now,” Ethan Chant said  
 
Chant owns Steel Bender Brewyard. He says New Mexico’s unique flair inspires the beer made here. 

“We have our food culture which is very spicy and so with beer that accompanies that, you have things that are very hoppy,” he explained. 
  
Known for hop-forward beers or those with a strong aroma and bitter taste, New Mexico is still a small player among beer cities like San Diego, Denver and Portland.

But, it is being recognized for its quick growth. 

“About 10 years ago we had less than a dozen breweries. I think we probably had around seven. Right now we have just over 70 in New Mexico so it’s a tenfold increase over 10 years,” said John Gozigian, Executive Director of New Mexico Brewer’s Guild. 

Gozigian says local breweries have consistently won top honors at national IPA competitions and while Albuquerque is the hub of the state’s beer scene, he says now there is a lot happening outside the metro.

“In places like Carlsbad and Roswell and Ruidoso and Red River and Eagle’s Nest and places like that, small rural areas are starting to see a lot of breweries pop up,” he said. 
 
ABQ Beer Week is an effort to invite people to not only enjoy the good beer but support the local economy. 

“Our most recent statistics are about $330 million a year in direct and indirect economic impact. $100 million in wages direct and indirect like $3,000 full-time jobs,” Gozigian said.

A relatively small beer scene pouring a big impact.

“What I’m excited about is when we start distributing outside of Albuquerque… that’s going to take some markets by storm and that’s going to shock a lot of people,” Chant said. 

Area breweries are celebrating ABQ Beer Week with new releases, food pairings, special events and discounts. 

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