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ew Mexicans have been brewing beer since the days of the Wild West, but production started to really boom at the height of the craft beer revolution in the early 2000s. Today, New Mexicans might be as passionate about beer as they are about chile—the Land of Enchantment is currently home to 80 breweries, with several more scheduled to open in 2019. One of these is the first New Mexico location of Ex Novo Brewery, established in 2014 in Portland, Oregon, which recently opened in the former site of the historic El Rancho de Corrales. For Ex Novo founder Joel Gregory and his wife, this is a homecoming. After a decade in Portland, they returned to New Mexico to raise their children. “I didn’t know how much I loved Corrales until I moved away,” he says. “Ten years in a denser city, without space, you really come to appreciate the pace of life down here.” Gregory, who spent those years navigating the waters of Portland’s competitive beer industry, brings both that expertise and a unique business model to the craft beer scene in New Mexico. Ex Novo, which roughly translates to “once new,” was the first brewery in the US founded as a nonprofit, with 100 percent of its net proceeds going to support a variety of community initiatives. “Our goal is to make great beer

L.BaLoMbiNi galler y/studio/workshops 4436 cor rales rd cor rales nm 207 266 9634

and food,” Gregory says. “Everything we do is driven toward making a profit and then donating those profits to charity partners,” with nothing expected in return. In 2017, Ex Novo transitioned into a benefit company which—in addition to social and environmental responsibility—allows profits to be used to grow and operate as a business. The Corrales location will also operate under the same regulations, though for now it will not be 100-percent charitable. Once the brewery has completed its buildout and opening, Gregory will begin to reach out to local nonprofit partners. More than 150 volunteers support Ex Novo’s community outreach programs in Portland. “I want to build a similar thing here, and do a good thing with the good thing that we’re doing,” Gregory says. The New Mexico craft beer scene is one of the most pioneering and respected in the country, with innovative styles constantly flooding the taprooms. Ex Novo is ready to make its mark with offerings like Mass Ascension, a flagship IPA; Cactus Wins the Lottery, a prickly pear sour; and The Most Interesting Lager in the World, a Mexicanstyle lager. They also plan to brew constantly rotating seasonal offerings and hyper-local estate brews that will use peaches, plums, and other fruits grown in Albuquerque’s North Valley. —Kristian Macaron

Mural at El Novo Brewery in Portland by well-known illustrator and cartoonist Jonathan Case


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