The Latest on Montana Breweries from Growler Fills

See this post from Growler Fills with the latest beer news from around the state, including Beaverhead’s opening in Dillon!

Also news on brewery progress in Butte, Lolo, Kalispell, Sidney, and Missoula.

Congrats to Montana’s newest brewery, Beaverhead Brewing Co., which quietly opened in Dillon this past weekend.  Their official grand opening is set for Saturday, June 21, 2014. If you’re near Dillon this weekend you’ll find them at 218 S. Montana Street …

Read more on Growler Fills


Jeff Grant from Draughtworks makes the list: 20 Under 40

20 Under 40: Honoring young western Montanans making a difference

5390b43077e21.preview-620This article appeared in The Missoulian on June 8th, 2014:

Stirring the mash early on a weekday morning, Jeff Grant considered the beer to come. More than 430 gallons of water mixed with 1,200 pounds of grain will yield roughly 15 barrels of a seasonal IPA in a few short weeks.


Grant, a University of Montana graduate, isn’t a newcomer to the craft of brewing. As the son of eastern Montana brewers, he was practically born into the trade….

Read the full article at The Missoulian

June 2014 MBA Newsletter

Dear Montana Beer Lovers,

Lots of great happenings in the beer world of the great state of Montana!

Our next festival is in Helena in honor of the city’s 150th Birthday. It’s the marquee event this summer celebrating our state’s capital. The event poster is below, please help us spread the word by RSVPing on Facebook and inviting your friends!

As of now we have 600 people invited, and 218 attending on the Facebook page…we’d love your help in boosting those numbers!

We’re also planning for the 2014 Montana Brewers Festival and Conference in Missoula. The festival will be Saturday, October 11 followed by two days of conference for brewers. This is our biggest event of the year, and we’re excited to be back in Missoula with our family of brewers for good times, great beer, and a lot of learning at our conference. For the first time, brewers from other states will be welcome to register for our conference, as most of the sessions apply to all breweries, with just a few Montana-specific topics. Please help us spread the word about these events as well. Here’s the link to our Brewers Festival: Brewers Festival in Missoula Oct 11.

Montana Brewers are also in the news all over the state, with new breweries opening, and member breweries getting recognition for their great work. You can see these items of interest on our website in our “news” section, and lots more coverage on our Facebook Page and our Twitter Account.

We also recently joined Instagram, and you can find us under “MontanaBrewers“. If you’re on Instagram, and take pictures of Montana beer, please tag them with #mtbeer, and they’ll show up on our Instagram Facebook feed. We’re loving seeing your pictures on there!

Please visit the news section on our website to read about the following:

Also, check out our Associate Members and consider giving these folks your business. Those who support Montana breweries should be supported in return! Many thanks.

We are always looking for more Associate Members to boost our efforts, so if your business would like to show some support, please visit this page to sign up: Membership.

Welcome our newest Associate Members:

The MBA is also seeking sponsors for our Helena Festival. If you’d like your business to have a presence at our festival, please see sponsorship information below and be in touch no later than July 1.

Last but not least, our Trail Map is getting a lot of attention! We now have the map downloadable on our site, so please print yourself out a copy for your next road trip, or send along to folks traveling through the state this summer. Please share this on Facebook as well…we posted this on our page and so far it has 144 shares and 187 likes…so we’re getting the message that folks like this tool, and I’m happy to say we needed to add a section this year to accommodate for all the new breweries! Bravo!

Get your MBA Trail Map here! Special thanks to Steffen Rasile of our Associate Member company sra Design Studios in Helena for updating the MBA website and creating the downloadable Trail Map! Cheers.

I hope there are lots of delicious Montana-made brews in your near future.

Best regards,

Tony Herbert, Executive Director
Montana Brewers Association
Helena, Montana

Winners: Montana Posts Strong Showing At North American Beer Awards

Winners: Montana Posts Strong Showing At North American Beer Awards

(Re-post with permission from Growler Fills)

Winners: Montana Posts Strong Showing At North American Beer Awards

Held each year in June, the annual 2014 North American Beer Awards took place last weekend in conjunction with the Mountain Brewers Beer Fest in Idaho Falls, ID.  The competition organized by the North American Brewers Association is conducted as a single blind sampling followed by rank ordering of the entries within a category.

It’s a big deal, too, annually receiving more than 1,400 entries, including many of the best from around the western U.S. and beyond.  Montana’s breweries put on a strong showing once again.  Here are the Montana winners:

Big Sky Brewing Company

  • Gold – Bobo’s Robust Porter – Robust Porter
  • Gold – Summer Honey – Honey Beer

Bitterroot Brewing

  • Silver -  Nut Brown Ale – English-Style Brown Ale
  • Silver -  Bitterroot Oatmeal Stout – Oatmeal Stout

Canyon Creek Brewing

  • Silver – One Night Stand – Golden or Blonde Ale

Carter’s Brewing

  • Bronze – Switchyard Scottish Ale – Scottish-Style Export
  • Bronze – Frambeaux – Lambic
  • Silver – Biere de Mars 2014 – Biere de Garde
  • Gold – Rob Moore Abbey Ale – Dubbel
  • Gold – The Golden Boy – Tripel

Draught Works

  • Bronze – That’s What She Said – Cream Ale
  • Gold – Backdraught – German-Style Rauchbier

Flathead Lake Brewing Co.

  • Bronze – Dirty Ginger – Other Belgian-Style Ales
  • Gold – Montucky Sour Brown – Flanders-Style Red or Brown Ale

Great Northern Brewing Co.

  • Gold – Wheatfish – Hefeweizen

Kettlehouse Brewing Co.

  • Bronze – Fresh Bongwater – English-Style Summer Ale
  • Silver – Double Haul – English-Style India Pale Ale

Madison River Brewing Co.

  • Bronze – Frostbite Barley Wine 12 – American-Style Barley Wine

Montana Brewing Co.

  • Bronze – Whitetail Wheat – Hefeweizen
  • Bronze – Custer’s Last Stout – Oatmeal Stout
  • Bronze – Beartooth Espresso Porter – Coffee Beers

Philipsburg Brewing Company

  • Silver – Corners Porter - Coffee Beers

Red Lodge Ales Brewing Co.

  • Silver – Liver Eatin’ Ale – Dark Hefeweizen

Tamarack Brewing Co.

  • Gold – Blue Jay White IPA – Hybrid Style Beers
  • Silver – Training Wheels Rootbeer – Carbonated Soft Drinks


  • Silver – Alt 0220 – Altbier
  • Bronze – Black Hops Tactical IPA – Cascadian Style Dark Ale


Walsh sponsors legislation to cut taxes for Montana brewers and distillers

Measures would help reduce overhead so small businesses can grow and create more jobs

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator John Walsh today sponsored legislation to reduce taxes for Montana brewers, building on his work to support one of Montana’s growing industries and help create good-paying jobs in Montana.

“Montana’s industry of brewers and distillers contribute to our local economies, strengthen our state and create good-paying jobs – it’s our job to help them thrive,” Walsh said.  “Cutting taxes brewers and distillers pay will reduce their overhead so they can return the investment in their businesses, grow their operation and add unbeatable Made in Montana products to shelves across the state and country.”

The bipartisan BEER Act will halve the excise tax on all beer from $18 a barrel to $9 – approximately 2.5 cents per can, down from five cents – and lower rates for small brewers from $7 to $3.50 or less.  All Montana brewers would benefit from this adjustment.

The bipartisan Small BREW Act is targeted specifically to lowering the excise tax for smaller brewers.  It would halve the excise tax on the first 60,000 barrels of beer produced by small brewers from $7 to $3.50, and it would give a $2 break for small breweries for every barrel they produce between 60,000 and 2 million.

With 46 breweries, and at least six more expected to open later this year, Montana has the third-highest number of small breweries per capita in the nation.  Brewers use over 6 million pounds of malted grain, much of which is grown in Montana. The breweries employ more than 500 Montanans. In 2013 alone, craft beer production increased 15% in Montana in 2013.

Senator Jon Tester is a cosponsor of the BEER Act and the Small BREW Act.

Montana is also home to a burgeoning distillery industry.  Last month, Walsh announced the creation of the Small Distillers Caucus at Headframe Spirits in his hometown of Butte, where he heard from owner Jeff McKee about the amount of taxes his business paid – often at the expense of covering other costs. Walsh supports the Distillery Excise Tax Reform Act to reduce the excise rate for distilled spirits to only $2.70 for the first 100,000 proof gallons produced.  Every gallon above 100,000 would continue to be taxed at the rate under current law of $13.50 per proof gallon.  Montana currently has 16 distilleries in operation and they would all benefit from a reduction in the excise tax.

Here is what Montanans are saying about Walsh’s support for lowering taxes on distillers and brewers:

“Microbreweries and distilleries represent a fast-growing segment of the Montana economy that not only support a renewal of domestic manufacturing, but also Montana’s agriculture by increasing demand for locally-grown ingredients.  A reduction in the tax burden faced by small breweries and distilleries will help these businesses grow.  We applaud Sen. Walsh’s continued support of Montana-based small business and agriculture.”

- Matt Muth and Phil Sullivan, 406 Brewing Company and WildRye Distilling, Bozeman

“Beer plays a big part in Montana’s agricultural economy. Both large and small U.S. brewers benefit from Montana grown barley. We applaud Senator Walsh for cosponsoring the Small Brew Act because it will help us keep more dollars in Missoula’s economy.”

– Tim O’Leary, Kettlehouse Brewing Company,  Missoula

“The Small BREW Act is a great bill for the Montana craft beer industry and it is a great bill for each community in the state that is home to a local brewery.  By the end of this year, Blackfoot River Brewing Company will have been in business for sixteen years and in that time we will have paid a quarter of a million dollars in federal beer excise tax.  At Blackfoot River Brewing Company we take great pride in being an active part of our community.  I appreciate Senator Walsh’s support for the Small BREW Act that will allow us to spend more money in our community instead of sending it to Washington D.C.”

– Brad Simshaw, Blackfoot River Brewing Company, Helena

April Newsletter: MBA Spring Festival, New Breweries & New Associate Members

Billings Spring Brewfest April 25th in Metra Park

Billings Spring Brewfest April 25th in Metra Park

Montana Brewers Spring Festival

April 25th 2014 – MetraPark, Billings MT

Join 22 Montana Brewers Association craft breweries to enjoy 71 of their Montana-made beers! Live music from The Growlers & Cure for the Common. Your ticket price includes a 9oz commemorative glass with unlimited samples of Montana beer. Food from our friends at Fat Taco, Jimmy’s Greece Pit, Cajun Phatty’s and Taste of Asia.

VIP Tickets-4pm Entry & Meet the Brewers:
$30 in advance/$35 at the gate

General Admission 5pm:
$20 in advance/$25 at the gate

Get Your Tickets Now! 

Please Welcome  Our New Breweries
Thank You to our New Associate Members

Mark Your Calendars

Cheers to our Newest Members

Beer Glass from Map

Raise Your Glasses in Thanks!

March 2014,

Please Welcome Our New Breweries:

Raise Your Glass to our New Associate Members

Montana Brewers Billings Spring Brewfest

April 25th at MetraPark

VIP Entry at 4pm General Admission 5pm

More Information on our Facebook Event Page


2013 Brewers Recap

2013 was a very active year for the Montana Brewers, to say the least. We have experienced remarkable growth once again as several new breweries hit the scene and joined the association.

In January the Montana Brewers Association published our first ever Montana Brewers Economic Study. Developed by the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, this study identified that our industry is growing with double digit numbers, and now is a $50 million dollar industry impacting over 450 Montana jobs. We will be commissioning a new study to be completed in 2014.

The year began with a big boom when the Montana Tavern Association introduced a bill that would have decimated the brewing industry, attempting to limit on-premise sales to just 10% of brewery production. We were successful in killing that bill, only to find another introduced which sought to limit on-premise sales to 40% and hinder entry into the Montana brewery industry. With the help of craft beer lovers throughout the state, and some hard work by several legislators, we defeated this bill as the session came towards its close. A veritable sigh of relief was heard all across Montana when HB616 took its last breath. Though our Joint Resolution, HJR 18, to study these issues in the interim and develop real and lasting solutions received a 19 to 0 vote in the House Business Committee, it died on the House Floor in a 50 to 50 vote.

Following the 2013 Legislature were several months of thrilling activities working with new breweries (now 35) and Associate Members (now 63), as well as hosting four great events for craft beer lovers and brewers in Montana:

  • The 2013 Spring Brewers Festival in Billings on May 31 at the Billings Depot- At our first Spring Festival, 1,200 people joined 23 brewers with 76 beers to make this the largest collection of Montana brewed beer to date, along with great music and food.
  • The Cruise With Charlie on Flathead Lake on August 10 – 125 lucky people cruised the lake with Charlie Papazian, president of the national Brewers Association and author of the bible of home brewing “The Complete Joy of Home Brewing”.
  • The 5th Annual Montana Brewers Fall Festival in Missoula on September 28 – 2,400 people joined us at Caras Park along the Clark Fork River and included 25 Montana brewers hosting 87 beers including 21 Festival Special Release Beers! With 87 beers, we hosted the largest ever collection of Montana made beer on display! Next year (mark your calendars -Oct 11, 2014) we hope to go over 100!
  • The 2nd Annual Montana Brewers Conference in Missoula on September 29 and 30- This 2-day technical conference was a big success for our industry where we assembled to strategize and discuss brewing techniques and policies. Over 110 brewers and staff attended with 21 sponsoring companies.

In the midst of this busy summer and fall we also coordinated a Montana Craft Brewers Industry Review at the Baucus Economic Summit in Butte in mid-September. This panel was moderated by Charlie Papazian (that’s twice visiting Montana within a month), and included a panel of 3 breweries (Big Sky, Lewis and Clark, and Beaver Creek), Cardinal Distributing, and a Malteurop representative regarding the economic impact of the craft brewing industry in the state.

The Montana Brewers Association also engaged in its first ever strategic planning effort. This process identified key areas of focus for the association for 2014 and 2015 to support its members.

2014 looks to be another active year.

Here’s a sneak preview:

We have called together industry partners in an effort to proactively use the legislative interim on brewery-related policy issues. This historic gathering of 15 representatives from Montana Brewers, Montana Taverns, Montana Distributors, Montana Gaming, and the state, are meeting in hopes of developing a bill to address brewery issues within the liquor control statutes. We have high hopes that this group, who has never assembled before, can assist us in making much needed improvements and provide insight throughout this process.

The Montana Brewers Association will once again commission an economic development study. This year’s study will measure 2012 and 2013 growth and be available in the late spring/early summer.

We are intending to host 4 events once again this year so mark your calendars:

  • 2nd Annual Spring Festival in Billings - Our second Spring Fest is coming and we are hoping to top last year’s attendance and fun. We are still working on details but we are aiming for April or May at the Metra Park.
  • Helena’s 150 Birthday Brew Fest - August 16, Centennial Park – Helena is 150 years old this year having struck gold in 1864. The city has asked us to host an event and we are excited to be working with them to make this one of the marquee events for the city for this coming summer.
  • 6th Annual Montana Brewers Fall Festival - Oct. 11, Caras Park – Our third year in Missoula, the Montana brewers are coming back with their Festival Release Beers and hoping to have over 100 beers available to sample.
  • 3rd Montana Brewers Conference – Oct. 12, and 13, Downtown Holiday Inn, Missoula – Our annual technical conference for brewers and staff to meet and engage one another on brewing techniques and policy.

The Montana Brewers Association wants to thank our passionate patrons throughout the state for their support in 2013.

Read an article about Montana brewing written by the President of the Brewers Association

MBA Executive Director Tony Herbert alongside Charlie Papazian on our MBA 2013 Cruise

MBA Executive Director Tony Herbert alongside Charlie Papazian on our MBA 2013 Cruise

Many of us had the distinct pleasure of meeting Charlie Papazian in his travels through Montana this summer. We wanted to share this article with you, written by Charlie, from the most recent New Brewer Magazine. It’s a great read. Charlie is the President of the Brewers Association which represents American breweries on a national level.

We can’t thank Charlie enough for his focus on Montana.
Good things ahead!

Flathead Lake, Summer 2013.

Photo credit: Alan McCormick of Growler Fills

Click here to read: The Big Picture of Small Brewers

See the list of an unprecedented 83 Montana-made beers for September 28 MBA Festival in Missoula.

Poster Fall Festival 2013Last time we were in touch, we thought we’d have about 60 Montana-made beers at our festival. We’re proud to say our brewers are bringing an unprecedented 83 selections to the festival, including 20 festival releases.

Planning on using social media to share your thoughts and experiences from our 5th Annual Festival?

Link them with others by including “#mtbrewfest” in your posts.

Stay updated on festival news: Montana Brewers Assoc. Facebook Page

Purchase tickets in advance to shorten your entry wait time. Have your valid ID ready!


RSVP to our Facebook event and invite others!

Are you ready for this? Festival Releases are underlined.

  • 406: Imperial Red Hop, German Hefewiezen
  • Bitter Root: Citra IPA, Single Hop Ale, Last Cast IPA
  • Blackfoot River: Festival Release Stout, Festival Release Barley Wine, Citra Single Malt IPA, Single Malt IPA, Tartanic Scottish Ale
  • Blacksmith: Crazy Train Double IPA, Brickhouse Blonde, Fresh Hop Harvest IPA, Schwarzbier Lager
  • Bowser: Jalapeno Hefewiezen, Double IPA, Abby’s UrBock, Harvest Howl Oktoberfest, Kendall Gold
  • Bozone: Bozone Smoked Dunkel Weizen, Co-Op Kolsch, Hefe Weizen, Plum St. Porter, Harvest Lager Fest, Bozone Select, Hopzone IPA
  • Bridger: Climb Every Mountain Hefeweisen, Lee Metcalf Summer Ale
  • Draught Works: Chain Reaction, DW Oktoberfest, Clothing Optional Pale Ale, Scepter Head IPA
  • Flathead: Two Rivers Pale, Bufflehead Brown, The Centennial IPA, The Imperial IPA
  • The Front: Vodoo Ridge, Mountain Man Strong Ale
  • Glacier: Raspberry-Infused Hibernation Stout, Silver Lining Session Ale, Wildhorse Island Pale Ale
  • Great Northern: Frog Hop Pale Ale, Going to the Sun IPA, Wheatfish Wheat Lager
  • Higher Ground: Fall Fur Cream Ale, Balance Beam Red Ale, Flash Flood Milk Stout
  • Homestead: Grave Creek IPA, Big Creek Porter
  • Lewis and Clark: Fresh Hop Neighborhood IPA, Tumbleweed IPA, Miners Gold Hefeweizen, Unforgettable Red, Back Country Scottish, Big Belt Weizenbock
  • Madison River: Frostbite Barley Wine, October Caddis Oktoberfest, Dropper IPA
  • Neptune’s: Dirty Bird APA, Chocolate Cream Porter
  • Outlaw: Outlaw Alt-Oktoberfest, Passive Agressive Pale, Hefeweizen
  • Phillipsburg: Czech One Two Pilsner, Tramway Rye IPA
  • Quarry: Opal Oktoberfest Vienna Style, Shale Pale, Open Pit Porter, Ironstone IPA
  • Tamarack: Band Wagon IPA, Tamarack Oktoberfest, Live Strong Pils, Bine Hopper Harvest Ale, 1805 Pale Stout, Hat Trick IPA, Yard Sale Amber
  • Uberbrew: Pseudo Steam California Uncommon Ale, White Noise Hefeweizen, Wampa White IPA, Split Window Amber, Black Hops Tactical IPA
  • Wildwood: Organic White Bark Wheat, Organic Bodacious Stout