Ex Novo Brewing Company is formulating plans to expand its footprint here in New Mexico in a major way. Last month, the popular brewery announced “big, huge, massive news”—the opening of a second New Mexico location in Downtown Albuquerque. The new location will take over the historic “Firestone Building” at 701 Central Ave. NW.
The iconic art deco structure has been a Downtown landmark since the early 1930s, but the Firestone tire and auto repair shop shut down in April of 2020 at the height of the pandemic. At the time, Bridgestone Retail Operations (parent company to Firestone) said it was a “difficult decision” based on “store performance.” The space has been empty for the last three years but has been eyed as a prime location for a restaurant or retail space, given its high profile placement at Central and Seventh St. across from the El Rey Theatre.
Ex Novo Brewing Company first opened its doors in Portland, Ore. in 2014. Since then, the company has expanded to three locations: Portland and Beaverton, both in Oregon, and Corrales, NM, hometown of company founder Joel Gregory. The company has been celebrated both for its innovative brews and for its goal of donating net profits to “organizations building a better world.” According to its website, Ex Novo has “been able to donate almost $100,000 back to our community, charities and global efforts so far.” Here in New Mexico, Ex Novo works closely with the Somos Unidos Foundation, a nonprofit offshoot of the New Mexico United soccer club dedicated to “youth soccer development, New Mexico schools, healthcare organizations, artists, restaurant workers and many more.”
Ex Novo hit the Village of Corrales in June of 2019, opening a taproom, cannery and warehouse at 4895 Corrales Rd. The brewery has been a local favorite ever since, hosting food trucks, the annual LagerHosen Festival and countless new beer releases. Now Downtown Albuquerque will get to experience Ex Novo’s brand of hoppy hospitality.
In a Facebook post announcing the expansion, Ex Novo said the new location would include “a large taproom with a full service restaurant and beer garden, along with a 21+ mezzanine ‘Speakeasy’ cocktail lounge.” A “new café/deli concept” is also promised. The developers are working with Albuquerque’s Modulus Design to create the new space. The new Downtown location will fill approximately 11,000 square feet and is expected to take up about $4 million in renovation costs. The overall project represents a partnership between Ex Novo, Geltmore LLC (a family-owned commercial real estate development firm based in Albuquerque) and a group of local investors. The brewery/restaurant is expected to open its doors in late 2023, hopefully in time for the 2023 International Balloon Fiesta.
“We are so stoked to join others to bring activity and vibrancy to our Downtown core,” said the company regarding its ambitious new digs. “We feel this compliments our Corrales location so well.”