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Bill To Extend Montana Brewery Hours Draws Crowd

Feb 5, 2019
Delicious Montana craft beers
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

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.

Courtesy Montana Governor's Office

 

Lt. Governor Mike Cooney was in Mexico last week to meet with some of the country’s largest brewers who, he says, feel shaken up over recent trade policy changes in the U.S.

There are hundreds of microbreweries scattered across the Mountain West. In fact, in parts of our region there are more breweries per capita than most anywhere else in the country.

Many of them sell their beers in aluminum cans. So with the Trump administration’s proposal to slap a steep tariff on imported aluminum, the beer industry is feeling nervous.


Two Montana campuses will be allowed to have the public sample the wares from their brewing science and brewery operations programs, so long as the tasting rooms are off campus.

Flathead Valley Community College and Montana State University Billings are the two campuses with this program. But the Senate amended the bill to only recognize FVCC. Representative Don Jones, R-Billings, wanted MSU Billings to be recognized, as well.

Garry Hicks from Lewis & Clark, giving samples at the trade show in Japan
Max Pigman

Japan may be getting a taste of Big Sky Country in the near future. At least, that’s the goal for some Montana breweries and distilleries ready to export their products.

Seven Montana producers of spirits and beer were in Japan last week where they were exploring opportunities to get their products into Japanese restaurants and on store shelves.

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