Local beer crafters share talents during Beer Week

Posted at: 04/25/2013 4:16 PM
Updated at: 04/25/2013 5:34 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Local brewers say New Mexicans have just caught on to the appeal of their craft.

“The beer is created 100 feet from us and it's served 50 feet from us,” Chama River Brewing Company Lead Brewer Justin Hamilton said.

When Hamilton started brewing a decade ago, he couldn’t imagine ABQ Beer Week even happening. Now, more people are interested in and passionate about craft beer – and his brewpub has become much more popular.

Twelve years ago, only one brewpub featured in this year’s beer week even existed. In 2008, that number became three; a few years later, it was seven. But that just counts the brewers that actually serve beer – spots like Il Vicino, Kelly’s, Tractor and Nexxus – places packed at night with thirsty spenders. Marble Brewery opened right as craft fever hit.

“We got a lot of traction pretty quickly,” Marble Brewery co-founder John Gozigian said. “It allowed us to ramp up and really grow the business over the last five years.”

Marble, like several other breweries in the area, started distributing out of state in the past year, bringing cash into ours. Meanwhile, as the number of breweries grows, so has tourism.

"There's a lot of beer travelers out there and they will go to cities with good breweries,” ABQ Beer Week organizer Marnie Gaston said.

It’s a way to show off our hops and bring in out-of-state bucks.