East Albuquerque has a new brewery—Quarter Celtic Brew Pub
It may be hidden from the main road and away from the typical brewery corridor, but the owners of Albuquerque's next brewery say a trip off the beaten path to their new brew pub will be well worth it.
Brothers Ror and Brady McKeown with business partners David Facey and Lee Jay Wilson will open a brewery and restaurant in the Courtyard Shopping Center at 1100 San Mateo Blvd. NE, just north of Lomas Boulevard. The 7,300-square-foot space has been home to several restaurants, most recently Fremont's Fine Foods. The brewery will also lease a second-floor space above the restaurant for offices, storage and cooling systems. Calder Conrad with NAI Maestas and Ward brokered the deal, along with Steve Kraemer.
The shopping center is anchored by ACE Hardware and peppered with small offices and shops. The business partners hope their new brewery, called Quarter Celtic Brew Pub, will breathe some life back into the center and serve the surrounding neighborhood.
"We want this to be a neighborhood hangout spot where they're able to ride their bikes here and have a beer with friends," Facey said.
Quarter Celtic honors the McKeown brothers' roots. The name also plays up the brewery and restaurant's theme—complete with a clover-shaped bar. The restaurant will serve Irish and Scottish fare, along with New American cuisine. The brewery will produce Irish beers year-round, such as an Irish Red and a dry stout, along with staples such as an IPA.
The men behind the new brewery and restaurant have extensive experience in the craft brewing industry. Brady McKeown is a decorated brewmaster and head brewer of Canteen Brewhouse. The brewery was formerly named Il Vicino Brewing Co., and McKeown has worked there since the mid-1990s. Ror McKeown was previously the general manager of Canteen Brewhouse. Facey, an assistant brewer at Chama River Brewing Co., plans to focus on brewing in the new space full time later this year.
The McKeown brothers have dreamed for years of opening their own brewing operation, and decided to make the move after seeing so many other breweries open in Albuquerque.
"We wanted to get in and establish ourselves and not be on the back side of that curve," Ror McKeown said.
Most new brewing operations depend on nearby restaurants or food trucks to serve food. Quarter Celtic, along with Downtown's latest brewery Rio Bravo Brewing Co., is one of a few that has opted to serve food in the tradition of a brew pub.
"We thought to be different, we should have a restaurant," Brady McKeown said. The restaurant will also allow the brewery to draw a lunch time crowd.
The business partners considered several locations but ultimately decided on the San Mateo space due to its zoning, commercial kitchen with wood burning pizza oven, outdoor patio and large parking lot.
"This space fit all the checkmarks, and though it's not visible from the street, breweries are a destination location anyways and we're going to have great signage," Ror McKeown said.
The group will do extensive remodeling, which includes installing tanks on the main floor that feed to a cooling area on the second floor. Quarter Celtic is expected to open by the end of this year or early next year.
By: Stephanie Guzman, Reporter-Albuquerque Business First