Billed as New Mexico’s “original craft brewery,” Santa Fe Brewing Co. (SFBC) saw record growth in 2017, and they gave us the scoop on how they achieved it and just what’s coming in 2018.
“We were founded in 1988, we’re independently owned and we’re in this for the long haul,” said Director of Sales & Marketing Jarrett Babincsak. “We’re operating in perhaps the most competitive and fluid marketplace our industry has seen. It’s imperative that we have the right foundation and strategy in place to enable us to successfully navigate what’s ahead.
- In 2017, SFBC’s growth came from its eight state distribution footprint — New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, and Utah — with its home state leading the way (28 percent growth) in total.
- That 28 percent growth in New Mexico was paced by 31 percent growth of its flagship brew, and the No. 1 selling craft beer in New Mexico as measured by IRI scan data, Happy Camper IPA.
- But watch out Happy Camper. In late June 2017, the brewery launched 7K IPA in late June, a Westcoast-ish style IPA “brewed at a higher elevation and to a higher standard,” which is already challenging Happy Camper for top spot in their lineup.
“We made the decision at the end of 2016 to evolve our brand to be more focused on what differentiates us, create brand continuity, and refocus our sales efforts on growing core markets,” Babincsak said. “We restructured our sales and marketing departments to capitalize on the highest leverage opportunities, pulled out of a few states and made New Mexico our top priority.”
- In November, they added their most popular seasonal, Freestyle Pilsner, which BeerSyndicate.com last year named the No. 1 German-style Pilsner made in the US, to its everyday portfolio.
- IRI data from the 26 weeks ending December 3, 2017 showed Santa Fe Brewing Co. to be the largest and fastest growing brewery in New Mexico.
“When I look at our brand, we are the New Mexico original; we started the craft category here. We represent New Mexican lifestyle and pride. We also make world class beers and have a good time doing it, but don’t take ourselves too seriously. Everything we’ve done with our brand is rooted in those in those tenets – from our packaging, to our new tap handles, to our social media, to the new website we’ll launch this Spring, to the new brands we’re creating,” says Babincsak.
A few years back , SFBC added maybe the most decorated brewmaster working in New Mexico, Bert Boyce, to run brewing operations.
“Uur quality and consistency has improved across our portfolio, and our new beers are both world class and differentiated from what everyone else is doing,” Babincsak says. “7K IPA is a perfect example of our approach to creating new beers.”
2018 and beyond — new beers and packaging
“Our first new beer, Lustgarten Lager, a dark lager brewed with real raspberries, is in stores now,” says Brewmaster Bert Boyce. “In March, we’ll debut Twisted Root, an ale brewed with ginger and lemon grass, and in May it will be a yet to be named farmhouse inspired ale brewed with agave and lime.”
Santa Fe Brewing is also expanding production of its In & Out specialty IPA series, and its Ever Changing Series
“We’re also adding 12 pack cans of 7K IPA and Freestyle Pilsner, updating the packaging on Happy Camper 12 packs, and adding 16-ounce cans of all three brands,” he says.
SFBC is also expanding their footprint in Santa Fe and doubling down on their commitment to the local community.
“We’re committed to New Mexico and Santa Fe,” says Owner and President Brian Lock. “It’s who we are. New Mexico is our home and want to be a leading contributor to the local economy. We want our properties to be must-do’s for both locals and people visiting our great state. In that vein, we’re embarking on two exciting local projects.”
- A new taproom in downtown Santa Fe, located in a small, historic brick home on Galisteo with a speakeasy type vibe.
- Developing a primary site in Santa Fe into a world-class destination.
“When done it will include a beer hall, landscaped beer garden with outdoor seating and games, and upgrades to our concert venue, the Bridge,” Lock continues.
To top it all off, Lock says they will be expanding their community involvement and fundraising efforts.
“We added a new position this year to help drive our efforts in this area and during 2017 we donated over $10,000 to local charities, community groups, and other philanthropic endeavors,” Lock says. “We expect that number to grow considerably in 2018 and beyond.”