Successful Aggie-owned brewing company launches Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale

By Adriana M. Chávez

The New Mexico State University Aggies kicked off fall with the help of a celebratory drink developed by three former Aggies with a passion for entrepreneurship and beer.

Kevin Jameson and cousins Gabe Jensen and Jotham Michnoviz are the three founding owners of Bosque Brewing Co., which is based in Albuquerque but operates a taproom in Las Cruces, just across the street from NMSU. Michnoviz attended NMSU, while Jensen and Jameson both graduated from NMSU with bachelor’s degrees from the College of Business.

Jensen and Jameson met at NMSU through Jensen’s then-girlfriend – now his wife – who suggested the two meet.

“I was floundering through college at the time and my girlfriend said her friend was in business computer systems and seemed to really enjoy it and already had a job in the field,” Jensen says. “She introduced us and I thought, ‘what the heck?’ We had many classes together, my grades went up quite a bit because I was doing something I actually enjoyed, and we became great friends.”

Both Jensen and Jameson attribute some of their business savvy to their education at NMSU.

“Once I became a business major, my eyes were opened to an entirely new world,” Jensen says. “I fell in love with both the business side of things and the computer programming side. I think, although nothing you can do in school can prepare you all the way for the ups and downs of business, my studies at NMSU really gave me great tools to navigate the business world.”

New Mexico State University Chancellor Garrey Carruthers, left, Director of Athletics Mario Moccia, right, and Gabe Jensen, managing director of Bosque Brewing Co., offer a toast with the Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale during its launch event in Las Cruces. NMSU is only the fifth university in the country to launch an officially licensed beer. It’s named after the Aggie mascot and the year NMSU was founded.

As Michnoviz describes it, the idea for creating a brewery came up during a party Jensen attended. Jensen voiced his wish to open a brewery, and another party-goer asked, “What’s stopping you?”

“We all at the same time had the same idea,” Michnoviz says. “We started figuring out the process and figuring out what we needed to do. It took us two and a half years to make it happen.”

Jameson says although his background includes economics, accounting, business computer systems, business law, marketing and management, he developed an appreciation for the quality and flavor of craft beer after realizing that many big-name brands seemed lackluster.

“I became interested in trying new craft beers and in the science of the brewing process itself,” Jameson says. “This became a passion that I soon wanted to turn into a business venture. Before ever having brewed a single batch, I found out that my two friends and fellow Aggies, Gabe and Jotham, had this same passion and desire to be craft beer entrepreneurs, so we set out on the journey together.”

In October 2012, Bosque Brewing Co. opened its doors in Albuquerque. About two years later, the Las Cruces taproom made its debut. Bosque Brewing Co.’s growing popularity has led to separate collaborations with Samuel Adams beer and NMSU. The NMSU collaboration spawned Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale, which quickly became a best-seller since its launch in August.

“As alumni and most of our ownership having grown up or lived in Las Cruces, NMSU has a special place in our hearts,” Jensen says. “When the call came in for us to consider brewing an NMSU licensed beer, we geeked out. Being able to support our alma mater by having this beer available at Aggie games and around town was a no-brainer for Bosque.”

Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale is named after the Aggie mascot and the year NMSU was founded. It is available on tap at the brewery’s Las Cruces taproom and at all Aggie football and men’s basketball home games. Cans of the ale will be available statewide early next year. Proceeds from each purchase also help NMSU athletic programs become financially independent.

NMSU was the fifth university in the country to launch an officially licensed beer.

With the two collaborations further establishing Bosque Brewing Co.’s reputation for good beer, its future looks very promising.

“I believe our current growth trajectory will see us continue to open more locations in the state and with operations in other states as well,” Jameson says regarding his vision for the company’s future. “Our brewing capacity will have grown in the next 10 years to the point of facilitating massively expanded distribution, which is very exciting, but I also intend to have our employees’ and customers’ experience with Bosque Brewing Company remain consistent to the level of excellence it is today.”

Jotham Michnovicz, Bosque Brewing Co. co-founder and director of operations, pours a glass of the new Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale at its Las Cruces taproom. The ale will be available at all NMSU football and men’s basketball home games, while cans will be available statewide in early 2018.

Bosque Brewing Co. recognized for Brewing the American Dream

Bosque Brewing Co. was one of six breweries selected nationwide to be featured in a limited edition variety pack distributed by Sam Adams under the beer company’s Brewing the American Dream program.

The program is in partnership with small business lender Accion to offer loans up to $50,000 for emerging food and beverage companies.

Jotham Michnovicz, co-founding owner and director of operations for Bosque Brewing Co., says Bosque relied on a loan from Accion to help open its doors. 

The limited edition variety pack is now sold out in New Mexico.

Adriana M. Chávez

What’s brewing on campus

NMSU’s collaboration with Bosque Brewing Co. isn’t the university’s first connection to beer.

The College of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering offers a brewing science and technology course that focuses on brewing operations such as milling, extraction, fermentation, cooling and filtration, which are all modeled by the fundamentals found in the chemical engineering curriculum.

Last year, Frank and Jennifer Seidel gave $45,500 in support of equipment, operational funds, furnishings and related expenses for the brew lab located in the newly renovated Jett Hall.

The department’s Brewing Engineering program is offering a brewery engineering education minor for the first time beginning this fall, and is in the process of designing an international brewery studies course that will take students around the globe to study the history of brewing. In the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, food science offers a hands-on brewing class, which teaches students how to brew beer on a small scale.

Adriana M. Chávez