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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Brewery Bill On Friday's Legislative Agenda

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio

Friday at the Montana Legislature brings bills about beer.

Democratic Representative Pat Noonan is sponsoring House Bill 326, which makes it so bars can buy brewer’s licenses, which would include taprooms, and brewers can buy liquor licenses to stay open later. This would attempt to end the dispute in which bars believe brewers have an unfair advantage with easier licensing.

“Currently, a brewer could acquire a liquor license except they would have to go through an intricate legal process.”

Opponent Kristi Blazer is representing Montana Beer and Wine Distributors Association and says this would make it so only large bars and brewers would survive because of high costs of liquor licenses and relatively low costs of brewer’s licenses.

“Multiple business we’ve got...are going to be shrunk into a few super-beer stores under this bill.”

There are only a few brewers with liquor licenses in the state, such as Lewis and Clark in Helena and Big Sky in Missoula.

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