By Carlos Andres López, NMSU News Center
Longtime friends Gabe Jensen and Kevin Jameson were on different career paths when they joined forces in 2010 to launch a new brewing enterprise amid the craft beer boom. Two years later, the College of Business alums entered the niche industry with their fledgling company, Bosque Brewing Co., and opened the doors to their first brewery in Albuquerque.
Jensen and Jameson, two of the three founders of Bosque Brewing Co., have since grown the company into a thriving empire with four locations in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Bernalillo and more than 200 employees. This year, they expanded the brand with the addition of a new restaurant, Restoration Pizza, and will open two new brewery locations in Las Cruces and Albuquerque this fall, a move expected to increase brewing production to 14,000 barrels by the end of the year.
The two Las Cruces natives met while studying business administration at NMSU. Jameson graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in business computer systems, followed by Jensen in 2002, who earned the same degree. After college, they went their separate ways, but years later, they reconnected while living in Albuquerque and decided to start a joint business venture.
“Both of us have an entrepreneurial spirit because of our time at NMSU,” Jensen said. “We had a yearning to do something, to make something, to create something that had value and improved our community. We went through a couple of different iterations of ideas for businesses. But one day, I was brave enough to say what everyone had been thinking: ‘We should open a brewery.’”
Jameson added, “We were blown away because that’s exactly the same idea we had in our heads – it was meant to be at that point.”
Without previous brewing experience, Jensen and Jameson dove into developing Bosque Brewing Co. with fellow Aggie Jotham Michnovicz, the third founder and Jensen’s cousin, starting in January 2010.
“During the next two-and-a-half years,” Jameson said, “we spent a lot of time on the business, the business plan, and getting our initial start-up funding set up. And then, of course, we were brewing almost every weekend, trying to dial-in the recipes.”
By October 2012, they opened their first brewery in Albuquerque with six employees, offering six beers.
“It was so much different than I expected,” Jensen said of his experience in launching the brewery. “The challenge was actually doing something in reality, and how different that was from what we envisioned in our brains,” he explained.
“In those early days,” Jameson added, “we were pulling shifts as bartenders and trying our hand at serving. For me, I learned that plans change, and you have to be super agile. If one thing doesn’t work, you drop it, recalibrate and keep running.”
Not only did Jensen, Jameson and Michnovicz keep running, but they expanded their first brewery and started to grow the company outside Albuquerque. Within two years of opening the first brewery, they opened a taproom in Las Cruces on University Avenue, across from their alma mater, as well as a third location in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill. They also added another owner, John Bullard, to serve as the head brewer. Now the company’s chief production officer, Bullard is an award-winning brewer known as the “Hop Whisperer.”
“That’s when we really caught traction,” Jensen said.
The popularity of their beer also resulted in collaborations with Samuel Adams and NMSU. In 2017, Bosque Brewing Co. and NMSU partnered to launch an Aggie-themed collegiate beer, Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale, named after the university’s mascot and its founding year. That same year, Jensen and Jameson and their team opened a second, larger location in Las Cruces.
This fall, the company plans to open two new locations in Las Cruces and Albuquerque.
“We have several projects we’re excited about launching this year,” Jensen said.
Even with their fast-growing company, Jameson and Jensen remain committed to supporting NMSU and the College of Business. Both have lectured in Dean James Hoffman’s classes, speaking to students about their experience in starting a company.
“Both of us are looking to give back to our college in any way that we can, and, of course, give back to the community of Las Cruces,” Jameson said.