ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A training facility on Central New Mexico Community College’s campus is preparing students for the states growing beer, wine, and spirits industry.

“It’s completely hands-on. We are using the same equipment that you will find in any professional brewery,” Beverage Production and Management Program Lead Instructor Antonio Fernandez said. Fernandez mentioned the department’s excitement about their newly renovated facility inside the old book store on CNM’s main campus.

Since the program began in 2016, students would take trips to local breweries to gain their skills. However, they will no longer have to do that thanks to the new $12 million space which opened on March 29.

The program started with courses for brewing beer. However, the school recently launched the distilled spirits technology program which helps students create whiskey, vodka, and gin. Now, they are bringing wine-making equipment for the expected launch of their wine technology program.

“I’ve been really pleased and proud with the product that our students have been turning out to this point. The quality [of] the product that they make is on par with any commercial and professional brewery distillery and winemaking so far,” said Fernandez.

As the beverage production industry grows in New Mexico, the school hopes to turn out well-trained professionals. Fernandez added the program has more than 100 students enrolled.

“I do want to have some experience before I do open my own brewery. Only a small scale, nothing big production. Here, at the school, they do teach you big production and small. I am lucky to get that experience,” said a CNM student taking the courses, Dayjah.

The program runs in each term with the next session of beer production classes starting on May 1. The new wine technology program will begin in the Fall to correspond with grape harvesting.