Self starter: Clovis native plans microbrewery in Portales

Freedom New Mexico

A new business is in the works for Portales in the form of a microbrewery and restaurant where homemade beer will be served.

The entrepreneur of this establishment is Clovis native Justin Cole, who moved to Portales in March of 2010.

Cole said he started home brewing beer six years ago while he was still in college and immediately fell in love with it. He said he had thought about home brewing as a career infrequently but began getting serious about the idea two years ago.

Cole plans to open his restaurant in March 2012.

“I graduated and I knew I wanted to work in the beer industry so I applied to all of my favorite craft breweries across the country and had no luck, so I just decided to do it on my own,” Cole said. “I like quality things and I like local things, so it’s a fresh, quality local product.”

Cole majored in chemical engineering at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro.

“It takes a lot of good process control to make quality beer and that’s pretty much what you learn with a chemical engineering degree,” Cole said, laughing. “Ben Franklin was a home brewer and I found inspiration in that. Back then, Ben Franklin didn’t have machines. He had to just light a fire and go to town.”

Cole said, along with being a microbrewery, his establishment will also serve food, ranging from $6 pizzas to steaks.

“I want your graduate student to be able to come in and enjoy a beer and pizza for under ten bucks or a city attorney to come in and enjoy a nice steak,” Cole said. “I’m going to be cooking with wood, so it will be quality, artisan-type foods.”

Cole said, in the last 20 years, the U.S. has gone from having little variety of beer to being one of the top countries in the world for most variety of beer. He said home brewing just gives beer drinkers even more options.

“The nice thing about a microbrewery is you’re not having to produce just one particular type of product. You get to make a variety of things,” Cole said. “You make something and you sell it until it’s gone then you get to make something else.”

Cole said, for his brews, he starts with raw materials and just goes from there. He said he plans to obtain most of his ingredients locally.

“My boss, Mark, and MainStreet has been extremely helpful with pointing me in the right direction,” Cole said of opening the business. “Everyone here has seemed to really embrace the idea of a brew pub so I just took it and ran with it.”

Cole said more information for local brewing can be found at www.rooseveltbrewing.com.