I once had a refrigerator magnet that I bought, or pocketed, from the airport or somewhere when I was of a maturity utterly informed by booze and girls. “Beer: It’s not just for breakfast anymore,” read the magnet.
Now, why that memory popped into my head the moment I sat down to write these introductory paragraphs, I’m not sure. Though I enjoy one to three beers, three to five nights a week, I am no longer informed by booze. It’s my creative drive that keeps me going.
Nevertheless, in keeping with my younger days, I still think that beer is the most important meal of the day. The reason is because of local craft breweries like Tractor Brewing Company, who not only strive to make the highest caliber brews and to create a comfortable gathering place, but also to cultivate their community into becoming a richer place.
Community involvement is super important—giving back and fostering an environment citywide that is conducive to good living.
Tractor, arguably, performs the latter to a greater extent more so than any other brewery in New Mexico. I started my day with some burning questions for Skye Devore, one of the owners of Tractor and a personal mentor, regarding how craft beer is possibly the most enriching element of any community. Then I had breakfast.
Josh Stuyvesant: The rise of craft beer. What’s it all about?
Skye Devore: For several years craft beer has had double digit growth while the “big guys” have seen losses. People associate their local brewery with their lifestyle and it’s pretty awesome.
Certainly awesome for Tractor—you guys are always so busy. Is it the quality of your beer? Your service? The ambiance?
All of the above, I believe. We make a product that people like (very middle of the road for craft beer), have a great staff that stays with us for the long haul, and strive to be a fun place where people feel welcome. Usually, places dedicate themselves to one of the three and leave out the rest. The remodel of our Nob Hill location and the opening of our Wells Park location made us a triple threat.
Additionally, community involvement is super important—giving back and fostering an environment citywide that is conducive to good living.
Being a “triple threat” puts you in the distinct position of always being able to attract a large audience. What specifically have been the benefits of having a reliable audience in reserve?
Making a difference for sure. People who hang out with us are close-knit and stand behind each other in making the community better. We have been able to get growlers into Nob Hill, raise funds for nonprofits, and support political candidates and change. Our audience also enabled us to move our brewing operation into Albuquerque and create 30 new jobs in the last three years.
How has Tractor developed its role in supporting arts and culture in Albuquerque?
Several ways. We are co-producing the 24 Hours of Art festival. We are the official beer sponsor of Tricklock Theatre Company. We make donations and sell reduced-price kegs to nonprofits. We get public celebration permits so that small galleries and local artists can legally have alcohol at their events. We hired a local artist to design our beer cans and apparel/accessory line we are debuting next week. We are also launching a new nonprofit partnership program called “Beer It Forward” next month, where we partner with local groups to provide support and grant funding.
It all seems superfluous. You don’t need to be doing all this in order to have a successful business, and yet you do. Why is it so important to you to nourish the community?
Because I live here too.
That’s the real answer. I love it here. Albuquerque is awesome and needs to stay that way.
Then thank you! You’ve always done right by us here at Pyragraph and my friends and I at Humbird NM. How excited are you for the inaugural 24 Hours of Art?
Unbelievably. I get to meet and work with so many talented, dedicated artists and musicians. Being able to see everyone come together and make one event that showcases the best of what we have in Burque is a great opportunity and I feel very fortunate to be able to help in the planning.
Tractor might not win the IPA challenge, but we will have the most fun.
It’s so encouraging to see the kind of outreach you do. Truly! It’s not limited to four walls and a parking lot. What kind of advice would you give a small business owner who may want to foster the community similarly?
Do what you can and what you can do will get bigger. Kindness is always repaid.
How do you expect Tractor entries to fare at the upcoming IPA Challenge?
We might not win but we will have the most fun. So, about the same as every other year.
I’m rooting for you to have the most fun. Are you a hoppy or malty fan?
I’m a malty/stout person. So is David Hargis, our brewer. It really shows in our beers.
I hope the IPA Challenge judges aren’t reading this.
Lol. Everyone can judge so they probably are. It is a blind taste test. If it wasn’t, I’m confident our regulars would make it so we won.
Well, loyalty isn’t hard to come by when it tastes so good!
Tractor Brewing Company is hosting the 12th Annual New Mexico Brewers Guild IPA Challenge at its Wells Park location in Albuquerque, Sunday July 20, from noon to 6pm. Each ticket buys your seat at the table as a beer judge. Each Judge receives a tray of 16 cups filled with IPA from around the state.
Photos courtesy of Skye Devore.
This post is sponsored content, produced as a benefit to our sponsor, Tractor Brewing Company.