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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Bill Would Allow Montana Distilleries To Stay Open Later

House Bill 474 would make distillers and brewers in Montana operate under the same tasting room laws.

Distillers and a brewer testified at the Montana Capitol today to support a bill that would make their businesses operate under the same tasting room laws. Montana breweries can serve beer until 8 PM, and it may be consumed on premise until 9 PM. Distilleries can serve liquor until eight, but it has to be consumed by then, too. House Bill 474 would allow distilleries to stay open that extra hour for consumption purposes.

Mary Harris with Bozeman Spirits Distillery says they usually gain momentum as the day goes on.

"But if we’re kicking them out, pulling a drink right at 8:00 and they feel rushed out of the door, we’re losing that sale of a bottle even at the end of the day," says Harris.

Troy Moore with White Dog Brewing Company is neighbors with her. He says he’s seen a few customers, especially tourists, who’ve been confused as to why one room is open, and the other isn’t.

"It’d be nice just to unify the two, get them on the same page, and then all of that goes away," says Moore.

There were no opponents to the bill at the House Business and Labor Committee.

Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.


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