Like many local craft brewing markets, Montana has seen its fair share of success. Thirty-eight breweries have created more than 450 jobs in the state and that number is looking to rise as Montana brewers continue to see growing interest. There’s one problem — the 60/40 “anti-brewery bill” that limits how much beer a brewer can sell in tasting rooms.
According to The Montana Standard, the $50 million-a-year Montana industry is under attack from a bill that could cripple small Montana brewers. Rep. Roger Hagan (R-Great Falls) is supporting the Montana Tavern Association’s bill that would impact how Montana craft beer is sold. From the Standard:
“[This] bill would limit how much beer brewers can sell in their tap rooms — and require the rest of it to be sold to retail customers at grocery stores and taverns. [This] bill will cripple one of the true bright spots in our economy, and its passage would give the Montana Tavern Association even more control over an already inefficient and tilted liquor control system. Think about this: Who does a brewery have to first convince to buy its beer in order to have it distributed? You got it — Tavern owners! They would control the brewers’ success.”
Additionally, the bill would also ban all food from sampling rooms — even popcorn. This is coming from the state which already has stringent retail regulations, such as limiting a person to buying 48 oz. per person per day and restricting sale to until 8 p.m.