Montana’s brewing history stretches back more than 150 years to the state’s days as a territory. But the art of brewing in Montana has come a long way since the frontier era. According to the Montana Brewers Association, there are 53 licensed breweries operating in the state (though that number might be breaking 60 today). These brewhouses produce and package more than 140,000 barrels (4,340,000 gallons) of fine handcrafted beer in bottles, cans and kegs, and those brewhouses use more than 7 million pounds of malted grain, approximately half of which is grown in Montana.
If you’re into Montana beer (and who isn’t?), we highly suggest the appropriately named book — Montana Beer: A Guide to Breweries in Big Sky Country — which tells the story of the brewers and breweries that make the Treasure State so full of treasure. We’re also excited to see that this journey through the history of Montana beer will continue with the Montana Historical Society. According to the local NBC affiliate (KTVH), the society has been awarded a grant to do an oral history.
Oral historian Annelise Warhank is looking to collect stories from the 1980s and 1990s when the craft beer industry took root in Montana.
Since passage of the taproom bill in 1999, craft beers have become community staples.
WarHank said “Montana has a really large production of barley that is not just kept within the state but it used by breweries across the globe. Of course, I also want the general public to benefit from this too so that they can gather a better understanding of these different breweries because they already love the breweries, why not love the stories behind them even more?”
What’s an oral history anyway? The collection and study of historical information using sound recordings of interviews with people having personal knowledge of past events. Aren’t you glad we keep you so informed?