You can find a lively crowd at The Roosevelt Brewing Company any night it’s open. The brewpub, open since 2012, is a popular place in Portales. Justin Cole’s ever-changing roster of small-batch beers, combined with chef Tyne Sansom’s innovative menu, beguile residents of our small town. The addition of local musicians, comedians, and artists doesn’t hurt, either.
The brewery has faced challenges, though you wouldn’t know it to read the first report of its opening in the Portales News-Tribune. Community leaders in that article spoke specifically and excitedly of the economic benefits the brewery would bring to Portales. Just two years later, however, those same community leaders would vote to deny Cole’s request to sell his brews at the annual Peanut Valley Festival.
In the time since that vote, the brewing company has overcome a citywide water outage that temporarily shuttered other local businesses, turned down the potential benefits of a new state law allowing home delivery of alcohol — which seems to somehow balance the Peanut Valley Festival disappointment – and become the center of Portales’s nightlife.
The brewpub is particularly packed on holidays, when it’s often impossible even to make a reservation. Patrons call to book their tables weeks in advance, thanks in large part to Sansom’s one-of-a-kind holiday menus and specialty cupcakes. A hallmark of the brewpub is its constant innovation; beers, menus, cupcakes, and promotions rotate quickly, so that customers are always returning for the next big thing.
“You just get what I call FOMO,” Jessica Anders, a 24-year-old administrative assistant, told me. “Fear of missing out. I try to get in to the pub every week just so I can taste every cupcake!”
This innovative spirit is likely the driving force behind Roosevelt Brewing Company’s rapid rise to success, despite the difficulty Cole experienced in establishing it. The same flexibility and willingness to think creatively that creates the pub’s novel atmosphere is seen in the ways Cole has responded to challenges during its establishment. Water’s out? That’s fine – he’ll use distilled. No seller’s permit at a festival? That’s great – but don’t expect him to pay for delivery privileges later!