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'Anti-Brewery Bill' could jeopardize MT microbreweries

By Rebecca Vogt, KCFW Reporter, rvogt@kcfw.com
Published On: Mar 09 2013 09:18:59 PM MST
Updated On: Mar 11 2013 11:20:43 AM MDT
'Anti-Brewery Bill' could jeopardize MT microbreweries
COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. -

The Flathead Valley welcomed a new brewery this week but in Helena a bill endorsed by the Montana Tavern Association could put a damper on Montana's booming microbrewing industry.

The so-called "anti brewery bill," if passed, could limit the amount of beer that brewery could sell directly in their taprooms. Brewers would be forced to stop growler sales and close by 8pm the latest.

Columbia Falls' Desert Mountain Brewing and Draughthaus opened their doors Wednesday to a big crowd itching to try some new brews. While owner Shawn Christensen tells us he's excited to see his brewery gain popularity so quickly, he expressed concerns over the bill and hopes hopes it's stopped before it's too late.

The bill is still in the drafting process please click here to view the status.

"If you read the language it's designed to keep new start ups from getting going," said Christensen. "It doesn't look bad on the surface, but one you get a little deeper you find that you can't make your cash flow goals. You can't make enough money to stay alive. You really can't."

The bill would also prohibit music, entertainment, even food and popcorn from being allowed in a taproom. It would also limit brewers to applying for special permits to 10 events a year where they could serve their product.