After a six-month process, the Los Alamos Beer Coop (LABC) received its brewer’s license from the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, officially making Los Alamos’ first and only brewery the fourth cooperative-owned brewery in the United States.
The LABC’s brewery will be called “Bathtub Row Brewing” – a reference to the city’s historic Bathtub Row, named during the Manhattan Project era since the buildings on that street were the only ones that contained bathtubs.
“The state licensing employees were incredibly helpful with guidance and advice for streamlining the process, so we are very grateful for their assistance in helping us navigate everything,” said LABC member/owner and board member Amy Engle. “People are beginning to understand the benefits of the cooperative model, and that is very exciting. We are also the first brewery in Los Alamos and the first co-op brewery in New Mexico, so we are very excited about finally putting our small town on the craft beer map.”
In the past few years, the LABC aggressively recruited individual investors to help fund the venture, which now has 420 members. The LABC hopes to gain another 80 members by opening, which they anticipate will be in spring 2015.
As with all co-op breweries, members own part of the business, which empowers each owner to vote on how the business should be run, what types of beers should be offered, and other decisions. Unlike traditional breweries, any revenue has to be reinvested or returned to members/owners.
The LABC is looking to hire both a professional brewer and general manager. The Bathtub Row Brewery will offer four varieties of beer, along with root beer and cider.
The future site of the brewery is located at 163 Central Park Square – formerly a bar and grille that has been completely gutted, except for the original fireplace. The LABC chose not to construct a new facility, but instead, to make use of the preexisting space in the interest of sustainability. Plans for the space include an outdoor patio and movies outdoors in the summer.
There are three other co-op breweries in the United States. They are located in Austin, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Minneapolis. Five others are in the planning stages. For more details, head over to the LABC website.