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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Brewers, Tavern Owners Wrangle Over Liquor License Laws


Today at the Montana Capitol, legislators heard beer bills. One that aims to find a way to settle the rift between brewers, which sell their product in taprooms with a relatively cheap license, and bars, which have much higher priced liquor licenses in limited supply.

House Bill 326 would allow dual ownership of liquor and brewing licenses.

Opponents to the bill, such as Bayern Brewery owner Jurgen Knoller, said there’s a fear of big companies and super-breweries taking over.

“I’m coming from a country like Germany where the brewers own all the bars.”

However, both the Montana Tavern Association and Montana Brewers Association came out to support the bill. John Iverson is the president of Montana Tavern Association and says the bill would make expansion simpler and less expensive.

“Well I count no less than 12 breweries in Montana that have already set up the type of business we're allowing in this bill. How? They do it through complicated legal structures.”

No immediate action was taken on the bill.

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