Beer co-op finds home

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 The Los Alamos Beer Co-op (LABC) now has a place to call home: 163 Central Park Square in downtown Los Alamos.

The co-op took a big step last month toward making its Los Alamos brewery and taproom a reality with the purchase of a 3.5-bbl Portland Kettle Works brewing system from Bosque Brewing in Albuquerque.

The signing of a lease on the 163 Central Park Square location is another giant step forward for the state’s first co-op brewery, and one of only a few in existence in the U.S.

The space, formerly occupied by the Canyon Bar & Grill, was on track to be demolished, but the co-op, and the owner and developer of Central Park Square, Phillip Kunsberg, felt that it could be remodeled and renovated to become the perfect site for the new brewery. 

“Reusing existing space has always been part of our sustainability plan,” said Micheline Devaurs, president of the co-op’s board. “We were very excited that [Kunsberg] was interested in partnering with us to renovate the space since our goal has always been to find an existing space and renovate it as part of the revitalization of downtown Los Alamos.”

Cindy Hayes, the co-op’s vice president, said Kunsberg has been amazing to work with.

“He is just as committed to the growth and revitalization of the Los Alamos downtown as the LABC is, and he’s been very supportive of our efforts.”

Los Alamos Connect, an organization dedicated to helping startup businesses in northern New Mexico, as well as other brewing companies from around the state, have also been supportive of the co-op’s efforts.

The co-op plans to open its brewery and taproom in early 2015, and is working on securing both a license to brew and a head brewer to help craft beer it hopes will help put Los Alamos on the New Mexico craft beer map.

In the meantime, renovations are under way. There will be a fireplace inside for wintertime warmth, and an outdoor beer garden adjacent to the building for enjoying the beautiful New Mexico weather during the rest of the year.

“We are so grateful to our members and investors —they are the ones who have allowed us to get this far so fast, but we have a long way to go,” said Hayes. “We need to continue fundraising in order to achieve our goal of an early 2015 opening, but we’ve overcome two big hurdles in the last few months — buying equipment and securing space —and with these accomplishments and the support of our members behind us, we know we will be successful.”