Capitol Bar & Brewery in Socorro has been awarded state development assistance. Courtesy/EDD
Inside view of Capitol Bar & Brewery in Socorro. Courtesy/EDD
SOCORRO — A long-time family business in Socorro has been awarded state economic development assistance to expand a brewery and beverage business that can lead to more steady year-round revenue, Economic Development Department (EDD) Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes announced Thursday.
Capitol Bar & Brewery, 110 Plaza in Socorro has been owned and operated by the same family for almost 50 years. The building has a centuries-old bar that dates back to 1896, when the region was a thriving mining hub.
The second owner, Judge Amos Green, held court in the bar and jailed prisoners in the back room.
Capitol Bar, LLC, now owned by Earl and Joanna DeBrine, has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the LEDA job-creation fund to improve the building so it can accommodate a brewery and a morning coffee business, expanding sales and diversifying revenue.
“This week the state announced that Intel, a global company, is expanding in New Mexico. Now the state is assisting a long-time family business grow in Socorro,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said. “We are doing it all. And that’s what it takes to create jobs and diversify our economy. ”
The state investment will allow Capitol Bar & Brewery to increase the number of employees from 8 to 14 over the next three years.
“Family-owned businesses are the backbone of the state economy,” Secretary Keyes said. “This partnership with Capitol Bar & Brewery through LEDA is an important tool to help Socorro move toward a sustainable recovery.”
Joanna DeBrine said the business has been fortunate to have a loyal clientele with locals, New Mexico Tech students, parents, faculty, and participants of New Mexico Tech’s First Responder Program. But a coffee shop will enable an earlier opening and locally-brewed beer will be a draw for Bosque del Apache and outdoor recreation tourists on their way to visit Socorro’s historic Plaza.
“The state assistance means everything for us,” DeBrine said. “We think these changes will contribute to the community, and increase tourism and hiring. This bar has a lot of history and tourists want to come and see it. If we can expand the hours, open earlier for coffee and then stay open longer, we can help the city and the other businesses near the plaza.”
The state LEDA funds will be paid out as the company meets economic development benchmarks established in the project participation agreement, which will be managed by the City of Socorro.
“The City of Socorro is enthusiastic and greatly encouraged to learn that Capitol Bar has qualified for a LEDA grant,” Socorro Mayor Ravi Bhasker said. “This program helps businesses expand to reach their potential, thereby adding to the economic prosperity of a community. The City of Socorro is eager to participate in this concerted effort to revitalize the historic Socorro Plaza area and to ensure our businesses thrive.”