Albuquerque, NM-based Steel Bender Brewyard opened four years ago with five house beers. They’re now at nine house beers and at any one time have an additional 15 or so seasonal beers and ciders available on tap or in bottles and cans.
Colorful names match the colorful and diverse palate-pleasing qualities of the brews. They feature Skull Bucket IPA, Lloyd’s 3 O’Clock Kölsch, Sparkfitter Amber, The Village Wit, and Blue Bullet Stout on nitro.
Notes co-owner Shelby Chant, “We've differentiated ourselves in our beer and cider offering by offering a wide selection of styles. At any one time, we have at least two dozen beers and ciders available either on tap, in cans, or in bottles. We're one of the few in the state that has a house Kölsch at all times. Our COMPA Blue Corn Lager brewed with New Mexico blue corn also does well especially in the taproom. We have something for everyone.”
Shelby says that appeal has been more broad-based and diverse than she and co-owners Ethan Chant, Chris Chant, and Greg Chant projected. “Being craft beer drinkers and brewery frequenters ourselves, we observed what was happening at other local taprooms and assumed that we would have a few different target audiences like most others.”
She attributes wide-ranging appeal to “word-of-mouth that was probably bigger and definitely happened MUCH quicker than we thought it would. Social media also is so great for this industry. The brewing process is fascinating,” she points out.
Shelby adds, “We always know we're on the right track when someone looks at a label or a post or reads the name of a new beer and they smile, giggle, even laugh out loud. We set out to be an accessible, fun, sometimes nostalgic, sometimes goofy, always strong and confident, yet humble brand. It seems that our following has taken some ownership of it themselves.”
Relationship with Lightning Labels, the craft beer digital printing specialist
“[Account Manager] Ryan Tennant is the BOMB! I work closely with him as does Adam Auden, our Sales & Distribution Manager. We've all become friends and can't wait for the pandemic to be over in the hopes that we could actually meet him in person. The guidance, responsiveness, enthusiasm to help us accomplish our vision is irreplaceable.”
She emphasizes, “Our brand is doing its job popping off the shelf while it’s sitting next to so much fantastic branding from fellow breweries. The beer label print quality is impeccable. Our brewing team appreciates the material and adhesive quality, as this was a huge issue with our first supplier. Lightning Labels has been a true partner. We've had many others approach us for our business. We simply can't leave Lightning Labels. The service and price benefits are simply too great.”
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