Tractor Brewing Company
Tractor Brewing Company
Tractor Brewing Company is a New Mexico-based brewery, founded in 1999 in Los Lunas and since 2014 located in Albuquerque. Tractor beers have won awards at the New Mexico State Fair Pro-Am Competition.
The brewery, including a taproom and restaurant, is located just north of downtown Albuquerque and there is an additional taproom in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill neighborhood near the University of New Mexico. Tractor is known for featuring local artists, musicians, and poetry slams.
Tractor Brewing was conceived in 1999 as a “beer farm” by Herb Pluemer. It was initially established in the rural community of Los Lunas, New Mexico. Pluemer restored vintage tractors and placed them around his brew house, attracting customers. The brewery bottled its product and it was distributed in New Mexico, Oklahoma, New Jersey, and New York.
The business had a downturn in 2008 during the Great Recession, nearly closing. The bottling operation came to a halt and Pluember brought in Skye Devore, an MBA, and new brewer David Hargis, who revitalized the company. The business grew and expansion into the Albuquerque craft beer market came in the summer of 2011 when Tractor opened a taproom in the Nob Hill neighborhood of Albuquerque. While the Nob Hill taproom does not serve food, local food trucks serve a rotation of cuisines just outside the taproom’s front door.
Operating the taproom required a significant increase in production and business flourished. Then in 2013, Tractor was approached by Premier Distributing, New Mexico’s largest beer distributor, about resuming bottling its beer. The combined increase in production tested the limits of the Los Lunas brewery’s fifteen-barrel system. Hargis and Devore became employee-owners of the business and set about rebranding the product and solving the capacity challenge.
They decided to close down the Los Lunas brewery and open a combined brewery, taproom, and restaurant just north of downtown Albuquerque. The new brewery has nine thirty-barrel and five fifteen-barrel fermenters and commenced operations in early 2014. It quickly became known for featuring local artists and musicians. Local artist, author and poet Carlos Contreras was brought on to manage art, music, poetry, and charity fundraising events.
The brewery participates in the Taos Ski Valley Annual Brew Master’s Festival and the New Mexico Brewers Guild’s annual WinterBrew in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is one of the sponsors of a 2015 bicycle-sharing pilot program in downtown Albuquerque.