CHEERING FOR THE HOME TEAM takes on new meaning when you can support your school with tasty New Mexico–made beer, wine, whiskey, and pecans.
Five years ago, New Mexico State University became one of the first colleges in the country to create a branded beer and raise funds for the Aggies’ 16 Western Athletic Conference teams and 400 athletes. “Bosque Brewing Company had created a golden ale that they hadn’t named yet,” says NMSU Director of Athletics Mario Moccia. That first partnership became Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale. Named for the Las Cruces–based university’s cowboy mascot, the quaff earned a bronze medal at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival.
Pistol Pete’s Crimson Legacy, a cabernet sauvignon produced by Las Cruces–based D.H. Lescombes Winery, followed. Next, Dry Point Distillers created Pistol Pete’s Six-Shooter Rye Whiskey, the country’s first collegiate whiskey. Featured in Whiskey Advocate soon after its 2020 release, it sold out with a 650-bottle waiting list.
The branded products earned NMSU Athletics $36,000 last year. Moccia believes that number can grow to six figures. When New Mexico Department of Agriculture Secretary and Aggie alumnus Jeff Witte reached out about a partnership showcasing the state’s agricultural products, Moccia was more than game.
“It made a ton of sense that the first food product out of the gate was pecans,” he says, noting that Doña Ana County produces more pecans than any other county in the nation. The Aggies teamed up with fourth-generation family-owned Legacy Pecans to bag up Pistol Pete’s Pecans, launched last fall. Up next is a branded salsa due to release this month. “We get points for being unique,” Moccia says.