By Tony A. Archuleta
Bacardi U.S.A. Inc. spokesman Kevin Patruznick appeared before the Sierra County Commission on Tuesday, Aug. 19, urging the county to secure a liquor license to advance sponsorship ties between Virgin Galactic and Grey Goose brand vodka at Spaceport America.
Patruznick said he’s been advised by officials from the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department that it would be up to the county to secure a liquor license for use at the spaceport, and then lease it out for third-party use.
He said the license would be put to use in about a year’s time, with newly-minted sub-orbital astronauts – the space tourism customers who are paying $250,000 per flight on Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo – getting a chance to enjoy a post-flight cocktail.
The proposal was presented for initial consideration with no expectation of immediate action, and the commissioners appeared amenable to Patruznick’s request.
Commission Vice Chair Frances Luna noted the arrangement would be similar to the longstanding agreement at the now-shuttered Pine Knot Saloon on East Third Avenue where the longtime operator utilized a third-party liquor license.
Virgin Galactic recently announced sponsorship ties with two Las Cruces businesses – a hotel and a chef/caterer, and is looking to add the Grey Goose label to its package of upscale amenities at the spaceport.
What went unasked by the commission is whether an existing liquor license holder in Sierra County would be eligible and/or invited to provide cash bar services at the spaceport.
At the very least, Virgin Galactic’s request may provide the commission, along with local business people and residents, the opportunity to encourage the fledgling space tourism company to consider Sierra County-based businesses in its ongoing sponsorship/marketing programs.