If the Legislature passes a hotly debated bill, breweries could be open for two more hours, extending their closing time from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Executive Director of the Montana Brewers Association Matt Leow was one of 15 supporters of House Bill 185 during its initial hearing Tuesday. He says Montana breweries rely on Montana industry, so selling more beer helps more than just breweries.
“When you buy a beer in a brewery, more of those dollars stay in the state and get recirculated here,” Leow said.
John Iverson with Montana Tavern Association, who was one of the 10 opponents to the bill, says breweries are manufacturers and not retailers, and giving them more hours takes away from bar business.
“The breweries that want to retail more beer want to have their cake and eat ours too,” he said.
The House Business and Labor Committee did not immediately vote on the bill.
Tim Pierce is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association, the Greater Montana Foundation and the Montana Newspaper Association.