Rambler Taproom scheduled for early 2020 opening in Farmington

New bar will be satellite operation of Bow & Arrow Brewing Co.

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
The Rambler Taproom, the first satellite operation of Albuquerque's Bow & Arrow Brewing Co., is expected to open in early 2020 in the GoTo Plaza at 5100 E. Main St. in Farmington.
  • The Rambler Taproom will feature a seating capacity of less than 30 and will not brew its beer on site.
  • The Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. is reportedly the first brewery in America owned and operated by Native women.
  • The Farmington City Council approved a license for the Rambler Taproom on Dec. 10.

FARMINGTON — The formerly sparse craft beer scene in San Juan County will become a little more crowded next year.

The Bow & Arrow Brewing Co., based in Albuquerque, will be opening the Rambler Taproom on East Main Street in Farmington in early 2020, according to founder, president and CEO Shyla Sheppard. The 1,200-square-foot space, which will feature a seating capacity of less than 30. It will not brew beer on site, but will feature all the Bow & Arrow products that are available at the main location in Albuquerque.

Sheppard runs Bow & Arrow with her partner Missy Begay. Their company has been described as the first brewery in the country that is owned and operated by Native women, and Bow & Arrow has been profiled in publications and web sites ranging from The New York Times and The Guardian to Vice.com and NationalGeographic.com.

The Farmington City Council approved a small brewer 1st off-site location liquor license for the Rambler Taproom at its Dec. 10 meeting. The business will be located in Suite 109 of the GoTo Plaza at 5100 E. Main St., a development best known for its anchor tenant, a Durango Joes Coffee location.

Sheppard said she and Begay chose Farmington for their first satellite operation for a variety of reasons. She noted the existence of the Three Rivers Brewery and the recently opened Lauter Haus Brewing Co. in Farmington, and said both are excellent. But she believes the market here remains underserved.

"I feel like we could really add something to the craft beer scene there in Farmington," she said. "We brew some styles that are a little different."

Bow & Arrow has partnered with Navajo Agricultural Products Industry for some of its brewing ingredients in the past, and Sheppard said she looks forward to opening an operation in closer proximity to that company. She said Bow & Arrow also will explore the idea of finding and working with other producers in the Four Corners area.

Sheppard, a North Dakota native who is a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, also said she and Begay, who is Navajo, like to spend a lot of time in the Farmington area. That made it a natural choice for their second operation, especially since Sheppard said she will be spending a lot of time here to get the taproom open.

The Rambler Taproom will open in this 1,200-square-foot space in the GoTo Plaza in Farmington.

"I've really grown to appreciate it," she said of the Four Corners area. "I love the outdoors, and spend a lot of time camping and going to Navajo Lake and Glade Run (Recreation Area). I like trail running and mountain biking. And I love the landscape there."

The name Sheppard and Begay chose for their Farmington location reflects their affection for this area.

"We like the idea of the Four Corners and the Great American Southwest — ramblers and seekers," she said. "We chose the name in that spirit. It made a lot of sense for that location."

Sheppard said the taproom will feature the same vibe as Bow & Arrow's main location in Albuquerque, 608 McKnight Ave. NW, which has a modern beer hall design. Long wooden tables with bench seating, high ceilings, concrete floors and exposed ductwork are accented by an expansive bar, chandeliers, natural lighting and custom woodwork.

"It's a community gathering place," she said, describing its inclusive atmosphere. "You can hear each other and have conversations."

Live music has not been a part of the mix at the Albuquerque location, she said. Shepard did not rule out live entertainment for the Farmington taproom, but she said if it is offered, it will be presented sparingly.

The Rambler Taproom will offer all the Bow & Arrow products, many of which are flavored with fruits ranging from strawberries and key limes to tangerines, as well as a wide array of hops. Sheppard said beers will be sold by the glass, in growlers and in barrel-fermented bottles.

Sheppard said construction on the site has not gotten underway yet, but the build-out is not expected to take long. She said she expects the taproom to open at the end of the first quarter of 2020 or the beginning of the second quarter. The business is expected to employ between five and eight people, she said.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610, or via email at measterling@daily-times.com.