Craft brewers in Montana got a scare from proposed legislation earlier in January that would have curtailed the future prospects of the brewing industry, reported the Ravalli Republic. The bill has since changed focus, but brewers remain on edge and are even promoting their side in a social media campaign.
The bill in question was proposed by State Representative. Jeff Welborn, R-Dillon, was vaguely titled “Limit beer sold on premises of small brewery to 10 percent of annual production.” (Ok, not so vague). The bill is now titled “Generally revise alcohol enforcement laws” and does not mention craft breweries.
There are currently 38 breweries in the state of Montana. The Ravalli Republic reported that many breweries currently sell between 80 percent and 90 percent of their beer on premise. A 10 percent rule would force a totally new business model — and to what end? The Montana Brewers Association believes that if that legislation was passed, the number of state breweries could have collapsed to about seven in short order.
There was no official word as to why the proposed legislation was put on hold, or what the plans might be for bringing it back to life.