Brewers Celebrate New Law Raising the Production Limit
MISSOULA – Governor Steve Bullock was at Bayern Brewing today for a ceremonial signing of HB 541, the bill that raises the production limit for Montana breweries.
“Even more than taps and great beers, our breweries employ our fellow Montanans, buy products from our farmers, and help grow Main Street Montana,” said Governor Bullock. “This legislation is a good thing for the industry and for our economy, as well as for Montana craft beer lovers like myself.”
Bullock was joined by HB 541 co-sponsors Rep. Adam Hertz (R – Missoula) and Rep. Ellie Hill (D – Missoula), members of Montana’s craft brewing community and industry partners in Bayern’s Edelweiss Bistro to celebrate the bill being signed into law.
“Economic growth and innovation are unlimited when we allow free markets to thrive,” said Hertz, primary sponsor of HB 541. “I’m thrilled to be a part of this bi-partisan regulatory reform that will position Montana’s craft brewing industry to be a bigger player in the regional market and create hundreds of new jobs.”
Montana’s brewing industry has grown tremendously in recent years, doubling beer production between 2010 and 2017. According to a 2016 economic study conducted by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, Montana’s craft brewing industry was responsible for $103.2 million in economic output, employed 702 people and created a total of 1,044 jobs in 2015.
Still, the economic potential could be much greater. Montana brewers have long seen the 10,000 barrel limit as an obstacle to growth that discourages Montana breweries from growing, punishes success and puts Montana breweries at a competitive disadvantage to breweries from other states.
“This bill removes a barrier that has hindered our growth and limited our ability to meet demand for our beer in Montana and beyond,” said Jürgen Knöller, owner of Bayern Brewing. “After waiting for this legislation for nearly two decades, we’re excited that this day has finally arrived.”
Bayern’s production grew steadily for 27 years, but plateaued around 9,900 barrels for the past three years. Under the old 10,000 barrel production limit, Bayern would actually lose money if they grew beyond the limit without making a significant leap in production. But Bayern, Montana’s oldest brewery and celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, has a lot to celebrate in 2017. Thanks to HB 541, this is the first year Bayern will be able to brew more than 10,000 barrels without being penalized with the loss of taproom sales.
Two other Missoula breweries will see direct benefits from HB 541. The new law will allow KettleHouse Brewing to have a taproom at the new Bonner brewery, their largest production facility and the site of the new KettleHouse Amphitheater. Big Sky Brewing has never been able to sell beer in their taproom, since their production already exceeded 10,000 barrels when the original bill passed in 1999, but that will all change when HB 541 takes effect.
“Montana is beer country and Missoula is the heart of beer country,” said Smith, co-sponsor of the legislation. “Rep. Hertz and I may come from different political parties but we both saw the need to do this for our community and the state as a whole. I’m pleased that Democrats and Republicans came together during the session to do what’s right for Montana craft brewers, barley farmers and craft beer lovers.”
HB 541 enjoyed strong bipartisan support in its journey to the governor’s desk. It passed the House on an 85-14 vote and the Senate on a 40-9 vote. The new law will take effect on October 1.
HB 541 Clears Final Hurdle on 94-6 Vote
HELENA – This morning, the Montana House concurred with Senate amendments on HB 541 with a vote of 94-6. The bill allows
Montana breweries to grow past 10,000 barrels of annual production without losing their taproom by raising the production cap to 60,000 barrels.
“HB 541 is the most important legislation we’ve seen for Montana’s craft brewing industry in 18 years. The Legislature has signaled a green light for Montana breweries to grow, giving breweries the confidence to make investments to expand their production. That means more jobs, increased demand for Montana-grown barley and greater access to Montana craft beer,” said Matt Leow, executive director of the Montana Brewers Association.
HB 541 is sponsored by Rep. Adam Hertz (R-Missoula) and co-sponsored by Rep. Ellie Hill (D-Missoula) and Rep. Greg Hertz (R-Polson). The bill faced a tough road in the Senate where it was amended in committee to set the production cap at 12,000 barrels and include a tax increase for breweries producing between 10,000 and 20,000 barrels annually. The 60,000 barrel limit was restored on the Senate floor along with new regulations for taprooms, limiting breweries to no more than three taprooms and a total of 2,000 barrels of on premises sales. The Montana Tavern Association withdrew their opposition to the bill with the inclusion of the taproom limitations.
“Rep. Hertz brought a great bill that was turned on its head in the Senate Business and Labor committee. We are pleased that the Senate restored the bill to 60,000 barrels. While we would prefer a clean bill without the new taproom limitations, the limits are set high enough that they will not impact what any breweries are currently doing,” said Leow.
Senate committee amendments sparked controversy last week when KettleHouse Brewing realized the changes, if they became law, would force the Missoula brewery to close its popular Northside taproom. The Senate resolved that issue with the amendment to restore the bill to 60,000 barrels.
“It’s been a rollercoaster ride for HB 541 over the past week, but we ended up in a good place. Raising the production cap to 60,000 barrels clears the way for Montana breweries to compete in the regional marketplace. Montana is known for producing high quality beer, with our brewers winning national awards. This legislation will enable Montana brewers to pursue export opportunities and provide beer lovers in other states a taste of Montana,” said Leow.
With the House vote approving the Senate amendments, HB 541 is now heading to Governor Bullock’s desk to be signed into law.
Craft brewing represents a sizable, grass-roots industry to the Montana economy. It provides local jobs and incomes, completes purchases from regional merchants, as well as producing a made in Montana product. Craft breweries are playing an increasingly important role within the state, invigorating neighborhoods and bringing communities together over a beverage.
Furthermore, brewpubs often appear in historically industrial neighborhoods, reinvigorating and reimagining properties left vacant by passing industry. This study builds on previous work completed in 2012 and 2014, separately, to further the publics understanding of the scope of craft brewing’s contributions to the Montana economy. In total, beer production has increased 87 percent from 2010, or at roughly at 13 percent per year. The industry does not seem to be slowing down either – we find production to have grown by 15 percent in 2015, with seven additional breweries in development yet to start production.
In this study we survey Montana craft brewers to ascertain their production, revenues, employment, payroll and other information. This survey is unique in that we collect data only on Montana based craft brewers, while federal statistics lump all brewing into a single category.
The survey results from this study indicate rapid and continuing growth in Montana’s brewing sector. From 2010 to 2015, Montana craft beer production increased by 87 percent, while sales have increased by 111 percent and employment by 204 percent. Expenditures increased by 140 percent and payrolls by 154 percent
Check out the latest 2016 The Continuing Economic Impact of Craft Brewing in Montana
The 2016 MT Brewers Fall Rendezvous featured more than 170 Montana-made beers from across the state. Missoula’s local homebrewing club, the Zoo City Zmurgists, judged the beers using the BJCP style guidelines in a blind-judging format.
Best of Show: Ten Mile Creek – Queen City Pale Ale
Best of Festival: Ten Mile Creek – Surefire Saison
Here are the winning beers from this fabulous showcase of Montana beer:
Amber: Cabinet Mountain Brewing – Ross Creek
Festbier: Great Northern Brewing Company – Oktoberfest
Fruit Specialty: Mighty Mo Brewing Company – Coconut Brown
IPA: Bonsai Brewing Project – Session IPA
IIPA: Tamarack Brewing – Headwall
Irish/Scottish: Triple Dog Brewing Co. – Aberdeen
Lager: Great Northern Brewing Company – Helles
Pale Ale: Ten Mile Creek – Queen City
Porter: Beaverhead Brewing Co. – Pioneer Porter
Saison: Ten Mile Creek – Surefire Saison
Sour: Bozeman Brewing Co. – Andsoit Gose
Stout: Bandit Brewing Co. – Bliss Stout
Wheat: Wildwood Brewing– White Bark
Wood Aged: Lewis and Clark Brewing – Weizenbock
Congratulations to the winning breweries and thank you to all the breweries that helped make this Rendezvous such a success!
Note: Best of Show was chosen by a five-judge panel from among the highest scoring beers. Best of Festival was chosen as the highest scoring beer among those first released for the festival during the preliminary judging rounds.
BILLINGS — The Montana Brewers Association is coming to Billings on Friday, holding its Montana Brewers Solstice Rendezvous on Friday, June 17th at the Billings Depot. Craft beer lovers will have the opportunity to sample brews from more than 20 Montana breweries.
“It’s been three years since we held a brewfest in Billings and we’re excited to be back in town for this celebration of made-in-Montana craft beer,” said Matt Leow, executive director of the Montana Brewers Association.
“We hope to see Billings out in force Friday night, joining us at the Rendezvous after work for great tunes and some of the best craft beer in the world. What a perfect way enjoy a beautiful Friday summer evening.”
Since the last MBA event in Billings in 2013, Montana breweries have exploded, growing from 40 breweries in the state to more than 60.
“The growth in the Montana brewery scene has been marked by quality as well as quantity, with Montana breweries bringing home 36 medals from the North American Beer Awards earlier this month as well as a win at the World Beer Cup,” said Paul Morup with Überbrew.
“We are excited to share truly world class brews with beer lovers in Billings.”
Überbrew recently won two gold medals and a silver at the North American Beer Awards. Fifteen other Montana breweries also brought home medals from the North American Beer Awards and several of those award winning beers will be available at Friday’s event. Canyon Creek Brewing will be pouring One Night Stand (silver) and Cold Creek Scottish (bronze), Red Lodge Ales will be pouring Summer Daze (gold), and Philipsburg Brewing Company will be pouring Haybag (silver) and Otter Water (bronze). Haybag also won a silver medal at the World Beer Cup.
The Montana Brewers Spring Rendezvous is unique event, serving beer only from Montana breweries with proceeds benefiting the work of the Montana Brewers Association. Craft beer enthusiasts are encouraged to sample beer from the far reaches of the state along with Billings’ hometown favorites, including Thirsty Street Brewing Company, one of Montana’s newest breweries.
Admission includes a collectable Solstice Rendezvous glass to enjoy free samples of the finest Montana craft beer. Attendees will be treated to live music by John Flordis Trio and Shakewell.
The John Floridis Trio features guitarist and singer-songwriter John Floridis along with bassist John Sporman and drummer Ed Stalling. Their most recent CD is “Live From 11th and Grant”, a soundtrack from their Emmy Award winning episode of the Montana PBS program of the same name. The trio recently performed with Grammy Award winner Robert Cray at Missoula’s Wilma Theater and have also opened for The Carolina Chocolate Drops. The trio combines a deep respect of well written songs with an adventurous jazz inspired spirit of improvisation, and the result is an energetic blend of groove based bluesy, folk-rock.
Shakewell will be headlining this year’s Rendezvous. Shakewell is tearing down venues with tectonic dance grooves radiating from their epicenter in Missoula, Montana. Born and bred in the Last Best Place on earth, Shakewell thumps out the funk, neo-soul, and rock’n’roll that gets everyone onto the dance floor. Fresh from Evergroove Studio in Evergreen, CO, Shakewell has recently recorded their full-length debut album produced by Alan Evans (Soulive, Karl Denson). The album is set for release in Fall 2016.
The Montana Brewers Solstice Rendezvous is Friday, June 17th at the Billings Depot. There will be a VIP hour from 4:00 to 5:00 pm with general admission from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. Tickets will be available at the door at $40 for VIP and $30 for general admission. Presale tickets are $35 for VIP and $25 for general admission, and are available online through Thursday.
The 2016 Montana Brewers Solstice Rendezvous will feature brews from:
Beaver Creek Brewery
Black Eagle Brewery
Bozeman Brewing Company
Canyon Creek Brewing
Kalispell Brewing Company
Katabatic Brewing Company
Lewis and Clark Brewing Company
Mighty Mo Brewing Company
Muddy Creek Brewery
Philipsburg Brewing Company
Red Lodge Ales
Tamarack Brewing Company
Ten Mile Creek Brewery
The Front Brewing Company
Thirsty Street Brewing Company
For more information about the Montana Brewers Solstice Rendezvous, visit www.montanabrewers.org.
For Immediate Release
May 3rd, 2016
More than 30 Montana Breweries coming to Bozeman for the Montana Brewers Spring Rendezvous
BOZEMAN — The Montana Brewers Association will be hosting their annual Montana Brewers Spring Rendezvous on Thursday, May 5th at the Haynes Pavilion in Bozeman. Craft beer lovers will have the opportunity to sample brews from more than 30 Montana breweries including six that have opened in the past year.
“With the Montana craft beer scene rapidly growing, the Spring Rendezvous is a celebration of made-in-Montana craft beer,” said Matt Leow, executive director of the Montana Brewers Association. “And there’s no better place to celebrate craft beer culture than Bozeman, a town that is now home to seven breweries.”
With several breweries joining the scene in the past few years, Bozeman is now tied with Missoula for the most breweries of any town in Montana. Bozeman’s newest breweries include MAP Brewing Co., White Dog Brewing Co. and Bunkhouse Brewing.
The Montana Brewers Spring Rendezvous is unique event, serving beer only from Montana breweries with proceeds benefiting the work of the Montana Brewers Association. Craft beer enthusiasts are encouraged to come taste beer from the far reaches of the state along with Bozeman’s hometown favorites. Breweries from as far away as Sydney (Meadowlark Brewing) and Havre (Triple Dog Brewing) are making the trip.
The Montana Brewers Spring Rendezvous will take place on Thursday May 5th in the Haynes Pavilion at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. There will be a VIP hour from 4:00pm to 5:00pm with general admission going from 5:00pm until 9:00pm. Tickets will be available at the door at $40 for VIP and $30 for general admission. Attendees will be treated to live music by Solidarity Service and Shakewell, will receive a collectible glass and can enjoy unlimited samples of the finest Montana craft beer.
New breweries attending the MT Brewers Spring Rendezvous: Ten Mile Creek (Helena), Beehive Basin (Big Sky), Bunkhouse Brewery (Bozeman), MAP Brewing (Bozeman), White Dog Brewing Co. (Bozeman), Bridger Brewing (Bozeman)
For more information about the MT Brewers Spring Rendezvous or Montana Brewers Association, please visit www.montanabrewers.org
Montana Brewers Spring Rendezvous will feature beer from the following Montana breweries!
|Big Sky Brewing Co.||Madison River Brewing Company||Quarry Brewing|
|Bitter Root Brewing||MAP Brewing Company||Red Lodge Ales|
|Black Eagle Brewery||Meadowlark Brewing||Tamarack Brewing Co.|
|Bozeman Brewing Co.||Mighty Mo Brewing Company||Ten Mile Creek Brewery|
|Bridger Brewing||Muddy Creek Brewery||The Front Brewing Co.|
|Bunkhouse Brewery||Neptune’s Brewery||Triple Dog Brewing|
|Butte Brewing Company||Outlaw Brewing Company||Überbrew|
|Canyon Creek Brewing||Philipsburg Brewing Company||White Dog Brewing Company|
For Immediate Release
February 9, 2016
Montana Breweries, Taverns and Restaurants Team up for Buy Local Beer Campaign
Beer Lovers Encouraged to Support Local Businesses, Enjoy Montana Craft Beer
Signs reading “Buy Local Beer Here” are showing up on the store fronts of Montana breweries, taverns and restaurants as part of a new campaign to promote Montana craft beer.
“Montana brewers are excited to see more taverns and restaurants getting on board with Montana craft beer. On a basic level it’s about responding to consumer demand, but it’s also about supporting local businesses and keeping more dollars in the local economy,” said Josh Townsley, President of the Montana Brewers Association.
The Montana Brewers Association, Montana Restaurant Association and Montana Tavern Association teamed up for the “Buy Local Beer” campaign.
“Montana taverns are excited to partner with Montana brewers to provide consumers exciting new craft products,” said Jim Johnson, President of the Montana Tavern Association.
With breweries now in over thirty cities and towns across Montana and demand for craft beer on the rise, more bars and restaurants are putting beer from local breweries on tap. What was once a niche market has now expanded into nearly every eatery and watering hole in the State.
“Montana’s restaurant owners are in the business of responding to consumer demand and Montana’s craft brews are very popular. That’s why we are pleased to help promote the drink local campaign,” said Brad Anderson, Owner of Buffalo Wild Wings in Montana.
The “Buy Local Beer” campaign is also engaging the public and encouraging people to get involved on social media. Craft beer lovers can show their support for Montana craft beer with stickers that are available at taverns, restaurants and breweries participating in the campaign. Craft beer lovers are encouraged to post pictures of their “Buy Local Beer” stickers with the hashtags #BuyLocalBeer and #MTbeer.
“Look out for the ‘Buy Local Beer Here’ sign on store fronts and slap a sticker on your car, bike, skis or boat to show support for Montana craft beer,” said Townsley.
For more information, go to www.montanabrewers.org/buylocalbeer
For PDF images please click here Buy Local Beer images
Re-posted from Last Best News, by Ed Kemmick, January 31, 2016
Shea and Jill Dawson are planning a Feb. 18 grand opening for their Thirsty Street Brewing Co.
Shea and Jill Dawson had been talking about opening a brewery for years.
Shea, who works in finance and public affairs at the Phillips 66 refinery, worked in a handful of places for Phillips, mostly recently New Orleans, before they arrived in Billings a year and a half ago.
They really liked what Billings had to offer, and with twin girls who are now a year old, Shea said, they told each other, “we’ve got to really start thinking of putting our roots down.”
Those roots are now planted at 3008 First Ave. N., home of the new Thirsty Street Brewing Co., which will have its grand opening on Thursday, Feb. 18.
The Dawsons had been prepared to build a brewery from scratch, but they couldn’t resist when their real estate agent, Chuck Platt, told them last summer that Himmelberger Brewing was up for sale. Brewing pioneer Dennis Himmelberger had worked long and hard to renovate the old brick building on First Avenue North, meaning the Dawsons wouldn’t have to do much to get their brewery going.
Himmelberger, who opened his brewery early in 2012, closed at the end of last November, shortly after which Shea started brewing beer to prepare for the opening of Thirsty Street.
“I’ve got 95 kegs back there ready to go,” he said, gesturing to the brewing equipment behind the bar.
The biggest change is that the Dawsons have converted what used to be a coffee shop on the east end of the brewery space into a game room with two dart boards, a shuffleboard table and a pool table. The game room wasn’t something they’d planned on from the start.
“But we’re both pretty into bar games, and that room is just perfect for it,” Shea said. They’re also into sports, so they installed two big-screen TVs, one in the tap room and another in the game room.
They also brought in new tables and stools and covered the long bar with a sheet of copper, topped with a layer of clear glaze. They’ve got a sizable sheet of copper left over. “So,” Jill said, “if you know anyone who needs 800 pounds of copper…”
Jill came up with the brewery’s name, based on its proximity to First Avenue and 30th Street. “If you combine 30th and First, you get ‘thirsty,’ kind of,” she said.
Thirsty Street Brewing also has a game room, with pool, darts and shuffleboard.
Originally from New Mexico, both Dawsons have some experience working in bars, Shea as a bartender and Jill as a server. Shea also took a “brewing science” class in college and has been a home brewer for 10 years.
His favorite recipe is for a Belgian Dubbel-style ale that he’ll be serving under the name Dubbel Trubbel. Other beers he’s already got ready are Winterization Pale Ale, made with fresh spruce tips; Staycation IPA, “with tropical undertones”; Goud Times Belgian Blonde; Big Bison American Stout; and Rimrock’d Amber Ale.
He will rotate other beers in from time to time. Thirsty Street will charge $4 for a pint or $3 for a 12-ounce glass of beer, with a dollar off both sizes during a happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
The brewery will be open from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 on Sunday. They will be serving hot dogs and sausages from Pioneer Meats in Big Timber, with buns from Grains of Montana.
There is a fenced-off patio in the brewery’s parking lot, which will be open as weather conditions (and some space heaters) allow. Thirsty Street is right next door to Angry Hank’s, one of Billings’ seven breweries.
The Dawsons said they’ve frequented all of the other establishments and enjoy the camaraderie in the brewing community, the sense of shared passion and the idea that lots of options is less about competition than building a bigger audience of people who like good beer.
They’ve already hired three bartenders and will be serving their beer for the first time next weekend during the Taste of Billings at the Billings Depot.
During the grand opening on Feb. 18, they will have happy-hour prices and will be raffling off five “Mug Club” memberships. The memberships, which normally will cost $30, give regulars a fancy mug that can be used every Wednesday for a $2 fill.