Posted On April 1, 2021
In a Galaxy Far, Far Away, Montana| In a quest for more shelf space and feeling frustrated and constrained by the three-tier alcohol sales and distribution system here on earth, Montana breweries are rocketing upward, going boldly where no beer has been brewed before, outer space. Their trade association, the Montana Brewers Association, is following suit by joining the Brewers Space Guild, banding together with brewers guilds across the country to send their work into orbit, a frontier without tiers.
While space breweries will have to contend with issues such as the lack of CO2, zero gravity and wet burps, they’ll find relief in gaining the ability to brew and bring their own products to the interstellar markets – all while Horrible Alcohol Laws (HAL 9000) continue to stifle the growth of Earth breweries and restrain their ability to self-distribute their beer.
On Earth, breweries are often restricted by law in how they may package their beer. In space, breweries will be free to package their product however they like – in different sized cans, growler materials or keg sizes – and float it out of their pod bay doors for sale. Space breweries may also ship beer directly to the citizens of any planet, including those in galaxies far, far away.
“It’s refreshing to no longer have to worry about slippery slope arguments from opposing lobbying groups … because you know, zero gravity,” said Matt Leow, Executive Director. “We are excited to be a part of this endeavor and take our work to new heights.”
Since joining his counterparts in space, Leow now works as a part of a collective mission to develop, strengthen and educate guild professionals and staff. The new membership-based 501(c)3 organization, The Association of Brewers Guild Professionals (ABGP), will create opportunities for its members to network, learn and share knowledge with one another. The AGPB is using this April Fools day campaign to build awareness and sell hats and t-shirts to fund the creation of their new organization. Pre-orders are being taken at BrewersSpaceGuild.com. The launch project is sponsored by Brewers Supply Group, a craft brewery supplier of malts and hops. Brewers Space Guild and Brewers Supply Group share the same initials, sense of humor, and spirit when it comes to community and industry outreach.
Brewers guilds stand at the front lines of a powerful and organized movement to successfully implement, protect and maintain craft beer-friendly laws and regulations at the state and federal levels, accomplishing all of this with small teams of typically one to two people. Guild employees must become experts in a complex and heavily regulated industry while also driving traffic and tourism to their state’s breweries. They also plan and execute major public events like beer festivals, state beer weeks and educational conferences. The Association of Brewers Guild Professionals aims to pool together the collective expertise of the nation’s executive directors and professional staff to benefit the greater whole.
“We’re here to protect the hopes and dreams of the galaxy’s small business owners and ensure that all guild leaders have the tools and resources they need to be successful,” said Leow. “But let me tell you, if you thought astronauts liked Tang, just wait until they try this NEIPA with Galaxy hops locally-sourced from the sun-facing side of the newly-terraformed moon. It’s out of this world. And oxidization… it’s a thing of the past! We can’t wait to see you up here.”
The Montana Brewers Association was created in 2008 and is a statewide association of breweries organized for the purpose of promoting the production and sales of the freshest and highest quality Montana made beers. The MBA is the outgrowth of the earlier Montana State Brewers Association, created in 1997, and the members of the MBA are dedicated to education, public awareness and support for their products, profession, and history while documenting their economic impact and legal responsibilities throughout the state of Montana. The MBA members are committed to actively supporting and interacting within their respective communities as permissible under Montana law.
Posted On March 18, 2021
This Saturday, breweries across Montana will be releasing their own unique take on the same beer, the Last Best Pale Ale. Montana brewers, hops growers and maltsters have teamed up to produce this collaboration beer. It’s a Montana craft beer made entirely with Montana grown hops and malt to celebrate Montana’s tastiest industry while raising money for both the brewers’ state guild and scholarships for students in MSU’s Barley Breeding Program.
The Last Best Pale Ale was conceived this winter as a way to bring brewers together doing what they do best – brewing great beer.
“It has been a long, hard 12 months for all of us. One of the most fun parts of our jobs is getting together at brewfests and different industry events to have a good time with other brewers and craft beer lovers. We miss that. This project is a really cool way to do something collaboratively that is fun for us and the public. I think we can all agree that we need things like that right now,” said Ethan Kohoutek, co-owner of Ten Mile Creek Brewing and president of the MBA.
The Last Best Pale Ale is a collaboration of MBA member breweries, but the recipe leaves a lot of room for interpretation and creativity. Brewers are using “C” hops from Crooked Yard Hops, Hopzoil from Glacier Hops Ranch, and pale and crystal malts provided by Farm Power Malt, Gallatin Valley Malt, Malteurop and Montana Craft Malt. Beyond those simple guidelines, brewers are free to put their own unique spin on it.
Golden Triangle Brew Co. in Ft. Benton is using a new malt barley variety from the MSU barley breeding program for their take on the Last Best Pale Ale. In fact, Golden Triangle owner Brandon Roberts went directly to the farm to pick up the new Buzz malt barley.
“Early one morning, we hooked the auger up to the bin and hauled approximately 60 bushels of this barley to Ryan Pfeifle with Farm Power Malt, and he custom malted it for us,” said Roberts. “Our Last Best Pale Ale will be a SMaSH (single malt and single hops) with our custom Buzz barley.”
The MBA is pleased by the involvement of local suppliers, making the Last Best Pale Ale a true Montana brewing collaboration. This beer brings together farmers, maltsters, hop growers and brewers to produce a uniquely Montana beer.
“This is exactly the kind of collaboration and partnership that speaks to us, because it perfectly aligns with our mission to celebrate both Montana agriculture and the craft brewing community here,” said Jen O’Brien, president and founder of Montana Craft Malt. “We’re always excited about an opportunity to collaborate with our Montana growers, brewers, and fellow Montana malt producers, because this growing and incredibly important community is one that we actively want to help continue to build in any way that we can.”
Nineteen Montana breweries have brewed the Last Best Pale Ale in preparation for the March 20 release. The beer can be found at participating breweries for pint, growler and crowler sales. A portion of each sale will go to support the MBA as well as scholarships for the MSU Barley Breeding Program.
“Spring is a time of renewal and hope, so we thought the first day of spring, especially given the challenges of the past year, would be a fitting time to put this special release on tap,” said Matt Leow, executive director of the Montana Brewers Association. “Please get out and support your local breweries while sampling brewers’ various takes on the Last Best Pale Ale.”
Find the Last Best Pale Ale at the following breweries starting March 20 (unless otherwise indicated):
2 Basset Brewery (White Sulphur Springs)
Bitter Root Brewing (Hamilton)
Blackfoot River Brewing Co. (Helena)
Cabinet Mountain Brewing Co. (Libby)
Copper Furrow Brewing (Helena)
Draught Works (Missoula)
Golden Triangle Brew Co. (Fort Benton) *on tap March 27
Highlander Beer (Missoula) *on tap March 30
Katabatic Brewing Co. (Livingston) *on tap March 27
KettleHouse Brewing (Missoula)
MAP Brewing Co. (Bozeman)
Mighty Mo Brewing Co. (Great Falls)
Missouri River Brewing (East Helena)
Old Bull Brewing (Frenchtown) *on tap March 31
Outlaw Brewing (Bozeman)
Philipsburg Brewing Co. (Philipsburg)
Ronan Cooperative Brewery (Ronan)
Ten Mile Creek Brewery (Helena)
Posted On March 11, 2021
Posted On December 21, 2020
The bipartisan deal on an end-of-the-year legislative package made over the weekend includes the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA), along with other COVID relief measures. Passage of CBMTRA will make permanent the reduced federal excise tax (FET) rate that has been in place since 2018, and will help Montana breweries avoid an $800,000 tax hike next year. Without Congressional action, the tax rate is set to double on January 1.
Montana Brewers Association Executive Director Matt Leow issued the following statement in response to the inclusion of CBMTRA in the package:
Today we raise our glasses to say cheers and thank you to Sen. Tester, Sen. Daines and Rep. Gianforte for cosponsoring this legislation and ensuring tax relief for brewers was included in the package. The craft brewing industry is facing unprecedented challenges, from reduced taproom business and weak keg sales due to COVID-19 to aluminum can shortages and increased can prices, but today craft brewers across Montana are celebrating news that Congress will deliver on the promise of tax relief for our industry.Beer is bipartisan and so is providing relief to American businesses and workers suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout. Making the reduced FET rate permanent and providing another round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program will help these local businesses get through what’s looking to be a very tough winter for our industry.