Where can we find Blü Dragonfly?
Our brewery is based at the Raton airport, and we recently re-opened our original tap room in Cimarron - which is where we originally brewed - with a BBQ-based menu. We also opened a brand new tap room location in Red River, where the menu is a bit more upscale with seafood, sushi and steaks. We are doing a curated cocktail menu in Red River as well.
Where do you position New Mexico in regard to the domestic beer scene?
There’s a strong craft beer, spirits, winery, and cidery scene in our state. We have some real stand-out breweries that regularly win medals at the Great American Beer Festival.
What's so special about New Mexico beer?
I think there’s something about New Mexico that attracts creative people who really excel at their art, be it painting, sculpture, chefs, distillers, brewers, or vintners.We have a pretty creative brewing community. I also draw inspiration from our New Mexican traditions like brewing an amber ale with roasted Hatch green chile or a biscochito stout. We tend to be kind of independent in the rural areas of the state and we like to try unconventional things when it comes to our brewing.
What kinds of challenges do you encounter around these parts?
When we started out in 2018, it was not long after the Ute Park fire and we had been through a long drought. At one point, our reservoir was reputed to have about one month’s worth of water left in it before the monsoon finally came. We literally could have been put out of business before we started due to a shortage of water. When we have adequate supply, our water is ideal to brew many different styles of beer without making major alterations to the minerals in the brewing water.
From a logistics standpoint, Denver is a major brewing supply hub for the mountain west so we have many resources for supplies and large capital equipment only four hours up the road. We purchase our grains from a mill in Monte Vista, Colorado which is only two and a half hours from our brewery and it’s a nice drive out there. There are also hop farms in New Mexico and Colorado and we’ve even harvested wild hops in the past. It’s a vastly different environment than where I come from back in Oklahoma.
What are some of the more interesting ingredients you have seen or used in local brews?
Well, in New Mexico, we have to have our chile, so it’s almost obligatory that we would add green or red to a recipe. One of the breweries has a red corn lager out that I found to be pretty novel and a pretty tasty beer. Our biscochito stout that utilizes cinnamon, orange peel, and star anise took second at the New Mexico Brewers Guild Stout Invitational last spring and it’s becoming pretty popular around the Enchanted Circle.
What trends are you noticing in the craft beverage industry and how are you adapting?
Craft beer is actually shrinking a bit right now. The big trends are non-alcoholic alternatives for people who want the refreshment of a beer but not the effect of the alcohol. Those are either non-alcoholic malt beverages or hop waters where the water is infused with brewing hops then highly carbonated like a soda. Craft cocktails are still gaining market share and hard seltzers are shrinking.
Blü Dragonfly is actually starting to look into becoming a beverage company rather than a brewery, and making both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. I think there’s room for a regional company making agua frescas, horchatas, beer, and spirits. We are also looking at branching out into spirits in the near future as well.
More on Blü Dragonfly Brewing here.