Denise Baker '77
Our goal is to be the leading provider of world-class craft beers in the southwestern United States and Mexico.

Who would have thought that running into a fellow Academy alum on a family vacation in Europe would eventually lead to joining the craft brew scene in Albuquerque? For Denise Baker ’77 and her husband Randy, it was an unexpected encounter in the tasting room at the Guinness Brewery in Ireland in 2004 that got the creative juices flowing.

“I saw a man wearing an Isotopes hat, before I had the chance to ask him where he was from, his wife came over and asked us where we were from because we looked familiar,” says Denise about the initial meeting. “Turned out, they weren’t only from Albuquerque, but he was also an Academy alum.”

The man was David Giblin, Class of ’78. “When we returned home from our trip, we spent some time with the Giblins. David and Randy both enjoyed quality beer and eventually they became very interested in the art of brewing.” Ten years later, Randy’s passion grew into opening a brewery while David’s passion stayed in home brewing, winning awards for his brews in the State Fair.

Four months ago, Denise and Randy officially opened the doors to Rio Bravo Brewing Company in Downtown Albuquerque. The 14,000 square foot brewery is located just south of I-40 on 2nd Street in the old Firestone Building.

“We did it right,” she says, “We invested in the highest quality equipment and hired the best people we could find.” And they did just that, building a state-of-the-art brewing facility and hiring a head brewer and operations manager who have produced beers that are already being poured in restaurants and bars across the state. “Our goal is to be the leading provider of world-class craft beers in the southwestern United States and Mexico.”

This isn’t their first major business venture. Denise and Randy are also the brains behind D.R.B. Electric Company. Since 1986, D.R.B. has provided electrical contracting, maintenance, and voice and data services to clients in New Mexico and Arizona.

Both D.R.B. Electric and Rio Bravo Brewing Company allow Denise and Randy to continue a family tradition of service to the local community. “Along with serving on various nonprofit boards, we also host events at the brewery, donating free event space and proceeds from the pints to nonprofit organizations in our community,” Denise says. The team at Rio Bravo is currently creating a specialty brew for the 2016 Skip Porter Memorial Golf Tournament. The name of the beer? The Skip Porter Porter.

To learn more, visit the Rio Bravo Brewing Company website by clicking here.