University of New Mexico students don’t have to go far to get their craft beer fix anymore.
On Monday, Oct. 1, UNM’s new taproom, Draft & Table, officially opened for business. Students were lined up at 11 a.m. when the taproom’s large, steel sliding door opened.
Dustin Schwartz, a senior studying earth and planetary science, was one of the first students to enter Draft & Table on Monday. He said he liked the interior of the taproom and the convenience of it being on campus.
“It’s a beautiful place, I like the lights,” Schwartz said. “I think it’s pretty sweet. This way when you’re on campus and you just want a beer between classes you can just come by here.”
Draft & Table serves local beers on tap including brews from Marble Brewery, Tractor Brewing Company, Steel Bender Brewyard and Abbey Brewing Company, among other local breweries. It also serves a selection of wines and non-alcoholic drinks. The taproom is attached to a kitchen which offers a limited selection of food.
Meena Reher-Kelkar, a senior and biology major, said she doesn’t drink often, but came to the opening anyway.
“I don’t drink that much, I don’t like beer, but it’s also a cool environment to hang out in,” Reher-Kelkar said.
Zane Armijo, a senior and chemical engineering major, said he likes the taproom’s atmosphere and appreciates that he doesn’t have to leave campus for a drink.
“I’m just gonna say this place is pretty cool — it’s got a cool, young, hip vibe to it,” Armijo said.
Draft & Table was the brainchild of UNM alumni Gus Pedrotty and Sara Collins who proposed the idea to UNM officials in 2016.
In January, funding was secured for the taproom and construction began in June. In January the Daily Lobo reported funding would be split between UNM’s food service partner Chartwells and UNM Food. According to UNM Food, the combined Chartwells-UNM Food budget for the project was $650,000.
Mark Stone, a UNM associate professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, has been home-brewing beer for 15 years. He assisted Pedrotty and Collins in planning their proposal for the taproom. Stone said he hopes Draft & Table will build the kind of community he enjoys as a beer aficionado.
“This is still a campus that is very much commuter based,” Stone said. “People don’t intend to stick around campus once their courses are done and I hope it helps build the community feeling on campus, that there’s something to do here that you can be a part of and you don’t have to just go back to your apartment or go off campus immediately.”
Clark McLean, a UNM staff member and systems and network analyst for UNM Information Technology Services, sat down for lunch and a beer on Monday. He said he expects Draft & Table will attract older students and faculty when more people become aware of the taproom’s existence.
“It’s very convenient,” McLean said. “The price point seems to be right, especially for students.”
The taproom will be open to all students. Thea Evans, director of marketing and guest services for UNM, said Draft & Table servers will be strict about serving alcohol only to those of legal age.
“With any establishment that serves alcohol, there is a concern for underage drinking,” Evans said. “However, we have worked hard to make sure that we have every measure in place to make sure that does not happen. All of our staff hold the alcohol servers license, they underwent the training that UNM’s very own Campus Office of Substance Abuse Prevention created, we invested in ID readers to spot any fake ID’s and everyone will be carded with no exceptions.”
UNM Food declined to arrange a live interview, stating that their company policy prohibits any live interviews with media. All information and quotes were obtained through email.
Draft & Table is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tom Hanlon is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @TomHanlonNM.