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Native Entrepreneurs to Expand Their Brewery Business With Rambler Taproom in Farmington

Bow & Arrow Brewing Co., the buzzing brewery in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the brainchild of two Native partners in life and business: Shyla Sheppard, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation, and Missy Begay, a member of the Navajo Nation. Now the enterprising duo are expanding with an offsite taproom in Farmington, New Mexico. Dubbed the Bow & Arrow Rambler Taproom, it’s forecasted to open in winter, Sheppard, Bow & Arrow Owner and CEO, told Native Business. 

Sheppard: There will be elements of our beer hall reflected in the new taproom, but it will have its own 'identity,' which is why we’re referring to it as the Bow & Arrow Rambler Taproom. Click To Tweet

Missy Begay, co-founder, Branding & Design, Diné, a member of the Navajo Nation (standing); and Shyla Sheppard, co-founder, President & CEO of Bow & Arrow Brewing Co., a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes (Photo by Roberto Rosales)

Sheppard and Begay launched Bow & Arrow in 2015, and today it’s essentially three businesses in one: production with a 15-barrel brew house, an on-site taproom, and a wholesale distributor. The business model also lends itself to intimate brewer-led tours, tastings and private event rentals. Brewing will remain at their flagship location. The Rambler Taproom rounds out their business portfolio.

Given Begay’s heritage, and the brand’s commitment to honoring the Southwest land and terroir, Farmington was a natural selection for Bow & Arrow. Design at the flagship brewery reinforces their connection to the land: an all-wood herringbone wall serves as the backdrop for visuals of the vast and powerful Southwest landscape.

“We’ve incorporated visual aesthetics from the Four Corners region into the beer hall in Albuquerque, as well as into various bottle labels. The design of the Cosmic Arrow Brett Saison label is inspired by rock formations in the Bisti Badlands, located South of Farmington,” Sheppard said. 

Fun names like Cosmic Arrow Saison take inspiration from Native and popular cultures. “It’s been helpful for us to draw from our unique Native backgrounds. We’ve found that having a story around the beers resonates with people. It’s been really well-received,” said Sheppard, adding that they strike a careful balance between drawing from their Native backgrounds while being culturally appropriate and respectful. (Photo by Don James)

Bow & Arrow makes small-batch brews, often infused with southwestern ingredients like roasted blue corn kernels or wild sumac. Sheppard and Begay actively embrace incorporating “a sense of place, whether that’s geography or culture” in their branding, Begay previously told Native Business. The brewery sources ingredients locally, and from Native producers when appropriate, such as Navajo Agricultural Products Industries, an enterprise of the Navajo Nation. 

An off-site taproom in Farmington will only deepen Bow & Arrow’s deep roots in the Southwest. “It’s very much in line with how we’ve positioned ourselves as a brand being about the American Southwest, and Farmington is essentially a gateway to the Four Corners,” Sheppard told Native Business, adding that she and Begay have spent a lot of time in the Farmington-area over the years. “We have family there, it’s a wonderful place.” Sheppard and Begay often take their Airstream to Farmington to go camping, running and hiking, she added.

Farmington is also in close proximity to Durango, home to many craft beer lovers. “So for many reasons it felt right and we look forward to joining the Farmington business community,” Sheppard said, adding that the taproom will be located on the bustling East side of Farmington. “We were fortunate to find a location with a landlord who is very supportive of us and sees the potential for us to succeed there and that means a lot.”

Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Courtesy Bow & Arrow)

Bow & Arrow Rambler Taproom: It’s about that adventurous spirit, for the roamers, ramblers and scenic vista-seekers. Click To Tweet

The business partners are creating a unique atmosphere for the Rambler Taproom, which “will be a much more intimate space than our main beer hall at 1,200 square feet.” 

The next phase of development is underway, which involves securing the liquor license, developing the design plans and construction of tenant improvements.

“I really enjoy this part of process,” Sheppard shared. “We are again working with Mullen Heller Architecture on developing the plans. I’m looking forward to revisiting what we’ve done in our flagship beer hall from an aesthetic and experiential standpoint, while also creating a new exciting destination place for Bow & Arrow lovers to seek out. There will be elements of our beer hall reflected in the new taproom, but it will have its own ‘identity,’ which is why we’re referring to it as the Bow & Arrow Rambler Taproom. It’s about that adventurous spirit, for the roamers, ramblers and scenic vista-seekers.”

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